Assisted reproductive outcomes of male cancer survivors

J Cancer Surviv. 2015 Jun;9(2):208-14. doi: 10.1007/s11764-014-0398-7. Epub 2014 Oct 2.


Purpose: The objective of our study was to evaluate the reproductive outcome of male cancer survivors treated with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) using cryopreserved sperm and compare it with the same treatment in non-cancer males.

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed database derived from cancer and non-cancer patients undergoing sperm cryopreservation from August 2008 to August 2012 at a university-based center. We evaluated the reproductive outcome of those cancer and non-cancer patients that had frozen sperm and returned subsequently to the clinic for assisted reproduction.

Results: We studied 272 males with cancer and 296 infertile males. The most prevalent types of cancer in our cohort were lymphoma (25.3 %), testicular cancer (19.2 %), leukemia (7.3 %), and other malignancies including sarcoma, gastrointestinal, and central nervous system malignancies (48.2 %). The use rate of cryopreserved sperm was 10.7 % for cancer patients and 30.7 % for non-cancer patients. The mean age of males with cancer who returned to the clinic for fertility treatment was 36.7 ± 6 years, and the diagnoses were testis cancer (43.4 %), lymphoma (36.9 %), leukemia (13 %), and other malignancies (6.7 %). Live birth rate of the cancer cohort was 62.1 %, which was higher than that of the normospermic non-cancer population (p < 0.0047).

Conclusions: The use rate of cryopreserved sperm from oncofertility preservation cases is at around 10 %. The live birth rate using assisted reproductive technologies among these patients is at least comparable to that of the non-cancer population.

Implications for cancer survivors: To our knowledge, this was the first comparative study of male cancer survivors treated with ICSI using cryopreserved sperm, which were compared to non-cancer males undergoing the same treatment. Male fertility preservation is a highly valued service that should be strongly encouraged prior to beginning cytotoxic cancer treatment. These results can help healthcare professionals in oncology to improve the quality of counseling on fertility preservation when managing young men with newly diagnosed cancer that require gonadotoxic treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cryopreservation / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Fertility Preservation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / rehabilitation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Neoplasms / rehabilitation*
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Semen Preservation / statistics & numerical data
  • Sperm Injections, Intracytoplasmic
  • Survivors*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult