Almost 50% of cancer survivors desire children after the treatment. Out of these, 75% are usually childless at the time of diagnosis. These statistics have pushed experts to design a permanent strategy for cancer patients.
This article will discuss a solution for male infertility in cancer patients: sperm freezing.
There are two reasons:
You can classify it into two portions.
Malignancy is the excessive proliferation of cells in your body. As a result, your body loses control over the organ with cancer.
Tumor formation impacts male fertility due to the following changes:
Various types of treatment are available for cancer these days. The primary ones are:
All three of them negatively impact fertility.
Surgery, in the case of testicular cancer, results in a 50% decline in sperm concentration. The ability of testes to perform adequate spermatogenesis also decreases.
Radiation for any cancer causes fragmentation of DNA, which may continue up to 2 years after the treatment. It also destroys sperm cells and leads to azoospermia.
Chemotherapy reduces sperm count and results in prolonged defects in the structure. It also interferes with sperm motility.
The severity is variable and depends on the dose, duration, and potency of treatment. For instance, radiation at smaller doses may only cause temporary azoospermia. But at higher doses, it can lead to irreversible fertility loss.
Similarly, the regain time is also flexible. At low doses of chemotherapy and radiation, spermatogenesis rebounds within a year. However, for some chemotherapy drugs and potent doses of radiation, it takes up to eight years.
Sperm freezing is a convenient method to ensure the possibility of paternity. For cancer patients, it is slightly different from normal individuals.
Take your time educating about it before making a decision.
Once the chemotherapy starts, the sperm quality declines rapidly. These sperm cells cannot be trusted to produce healthy offspring in the future. So, the appropriate time for sperm freezing is before the treatment begins.
Even before therapy, cancer takes its toll on spermatogenesis. To ensure the storage of capable and robust sperm, you need to undergo sperm analysis testing. This test gives an idea about sperm quality, motility, and total count.
Traditionally, samples are obtained by masturbation, but it is slightly challenging for cancer patients. Many cancers occur in childhood or the early teenage years.
For those in their teen years, ejaculation does not start until around 14 years of age. Secondly, older patients are often too ill because of cancer and cannot accomplish sample retrieval.
So, for cancer patients, the following techniques are available:
The problems may arise in collecting adequate healthy sperm or gaining a sample. However, once sperm go into the bank, the process is no different from the standard method. The freezing or thawing does not interfere with sperm quality for cancer patients.
In any case, a semen analysis testis imperative before sperm freezing. Those individuals who can perform ejaculation can opt for an in-home semen analysis kit. It allows you to test your sperm quality before freezing without going through clinic visits.