Background: Childhood cancer survivors have identified fertility preservation as a major concern. Sperm banking is an established fertility preservation option in pubertal males. We sought to describe current practices in Canadian pediatric oncology programs, and to identify perceived barriers to sperm banking for male adolescents.
Procedure: A questionnaire was developed to (1) describe current sperm banking practices and facilities; (2) report on the utilization of sperm banking; and (3) identify barriers to sperm banking and possible solutions to improve current practices. A healthcare professional with an interest in fertility preservation within each institution was approached to participate in the study.
Results: Fifteen of 16 institutions participated, 2 have fertility preservation teams. Only one has written guidelines or adolescent focused educational material. Over 2 years, 50/262 (19%) adolescents in 12 institutions successfully banked a specimen. In 11 of these, additional information was available: of 85/172 (49%) adolescents offered the option to bank, 38/85 (45%) subsequently attempted. Reported barriers to sperm banking included the pressure to start therapy and restricted banking hours. Formal education of healthcare providers in fertility preservation practices, provision of financial support for families, and an adolescent focused approach were identified as important initiatives to improve sperm banking.
Conclusions: There is a disparity in current sperm banking practices in Canada and at present, <25% of eligible male adolescents attempt to bank sperm. The development of a fertility preservation team, adolescent-specific guidelines, adolescent friendly sperm banking units, financial support, and improving knowledge translation among professionals and patients may improve the rates of banking.
Copyright © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.