Improved fertility preservation care for male patients with cancer after establishment of formalized oncofertility program

J Urol. 2012 Mar;187(3):979-86. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2011.10.154. Epub 2012 Jan 20.


Purpose: Survival to reproductive age among men with cancer has steadily increased and yet cancer therapy and cancer itself may carry the risk of infertility. Since 2006, we have used a formalized fertility preservation program with expedited fertility care at our institution. We assessed the impact of this program by comparing the frequency of sperm cryopreservation and patient characteristics before and after its implementation.

Materials and methods: Men 18 to 55 years old diagnosed with cancer at our institution from 2002 to 2010 were included in our study. We retrospectively reviewed patient charts to identify those who were offered and subsequently used fertility preservation services before and after program formalization.

Results: From 2002 to 2010 at our institution 4,818 men 18 to 55 years old were diagnosed with cancer, of whom 411 were offered fertility preservation consultation and 249 underwent sperm cryopreservation. Since program implementation, the annual number of men receiving fertility preservation consultation and undergoing sperm cryopreservation increased by 2.4 and 2.7-fold, respectively, while the total number diagnosed with cancer remained fairly constant. Upon substratifying patients into the more conventional reproductive age range of 18 to 40 years 23.4% of all men with cancer in this group were offered consultation before formalization vs 43.3% after formalization (p <0.05). The overall sperm use and discard rates were 8.4% and 14.8%, respectively.

Conclusions: A formalized institutional fertility preservation program significantly increased the overall number and percent of male patients with cancer who received fertility preservation consultation and pursued sperm cryopreservation. These increases were seen in men with all types of cancer and across all demographics assessed at our institution.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cryopreservation
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / etiology*
  • Infertility, Male / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Semen Preservation / methods*