Analysis of semen parameters in a young cohort of cancer patients

Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2017 Feb;64(2):381-386. doi: 10.1002/pbc.26221. Epub 2016 Sep 13.


Background: Infertility can be the result of some common cancer treatments and can significantly impact quality of life. Semen cryopreservation allows for fertility preservation. We analyzed the semen parameters of specimens collected from pubertal males from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) in order to expand current knowledge on the quality of these specimens and inform a standard clinical practice.

Procedure: Males who were at least Tanner stage III and newly diagnosed with cancer at CHOP were approached regarding sperm banking. The success and quality of the samples collected were analyzed and compared in relation to prior treatment, age, and diagnosis.

Results: From 399 patients approached for semen collection, 339 (85%) attempted to bank sperm, of which 265 (78%) were successful and 60 (15%) refused to participate. Therapy prior to sperm banking significantly impacted a successful collection (P < 0.01). Only 16.9% of the untreated patients were azoospermic, whereas 84.0% of the treated subjects were azoospermic. Older patients were less likely to be azoospermic and have a greater quality collection when compared with younger patients (P < 0.01). However, 65% of our youngest patients still were able to cryopreserve semen. There was no difference in azoospermia across diagnostic groups (P = 0.35), though there were differences in quality of semen parameters across diagnoses.

Conclusion: Our data support that sperm banking pubertal males prior to the initiation of therapy is feasible. While there were differences in quality of semen parameters across age and diagnostic groups, most males, regardless of age or diagnosis, had adequate specimens for cryopreservation.

Keywords: adolescent and young adults; sperm banking; sperm cryopreservation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cryopreservation
  • Fertility Preservation*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / etiology
  • Infertility, Male / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Semen / chemistry*
  • Semen Preservation*
  • Sperm Banks