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Sperm freezing before cancer treatment

Sperm freezing before cancer treatment

Receiving a cancer diagnosis is undoubtedly overwhelming, with numerous decisions and information to process, planning for the future can feel like an intimidating task. This month we recognise Men’s health awareness month. A cancer diagnosis is a challenging journey, but with advancements in medical treatments, the survival rates have significantly improved. However, the impact of cancer treatments on fertility remains a concern for many men. One aspect that should not be overlooked is the preservation of fertility for those who wish to become parents in the future. In this blog, we explore the importance of preserving fertility before cancer treatment and the options available to patients, and how assisted reproductive techniques can help individuals achieve their dream of parenthood.

Understanding the Impact of Cancer Treatment on Fertility

Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgeries can have a significant impact on fertility. For men diagnosed with testicular cancer, the effects can be particularly pronounced. The germinal epithelium of the testicle, responsible for sperm production, is highly sensitive to the damaging effects of chemotherapy. As a result, patients may experience a total or partial loss of sperm production, leading to infertility, known as azoospermia, even after completing treatment. This can make natural conception challenging or even impossible.

Preserving Fertility: The Semen Cryopreservation Process

To safeguard their reproductive potential, men diagnosed with testicular cancer are encouraged to undergo semen cryopreservation (sperm freezing) before starting cancer treatment. This process involves collecting and freezing semen samples for future use. Unlike ovarian stimulation for women, semen cryopreservation is a relatively simple and time-efficient procedure.

What is the process of sperm freezing?

The sperm freezing process begins with a consultation. Patients should consult with their healthcare provider as soon as possible after diagnosis to discuss the option of preserving fertility. This allows for timely decision-making and planning.

During the initial visit, an initial semen sample is collected and analysed to assess its quality in terms of sperm quantity and motility. If time permits, additional samples can be frozen at intervals of 2 to 5 days.

The collected semen samples are frozen at temperatures nearly 200°C below zero, ensuring the preservation of sperm quality. These samples can be stored for an extended period, allowing patients to use them whenever they are ready to start a family.

The Benefits of Preserving Fertility

Preserving fertility before cancer treatment offers several significant benefits. Firstly, it provides patients with the opportunity to have biological children in the future, even if their fertility is compromised by treatment. This can be a source of hope and motivation during the cancer journey.

Secondly, preserving fertility allows patients to maintain control over their reproductive choices. It provides them with the freedom to decide when and how they want to start a family, without the constraints imposed by cancer treatment.

Treatment after freezing your sperm

Fortunately, advancements in assisted reproductive techniques offer hope for individuals who wish to become parents after testicular cancer. IVF is one of the most reliable options available to those who hope to become parents after cancer treatment. At Create we have various treatment packages designed to support patients who have experienced cancer treatment.

Support through cancer treatment

Dealing with testicular cancer and its impact on fertility can be emotionally challenging. It is essential for individuals and couples to seek psychological support throughout the fertility treatment process. Support groups, counselling, and open communication with healthcare professionals can help address any concerns or anxieties and provide guidance during this journey.

In the context of Movember, which raises awareness about men’s health, it is crucial to emphasize the importance of preserving fertility before cancer treatment. For men diagnosed with testicular cancer, semen cryopreservation offers a viable solution to safeguard their reproductive potential. By taking this proactive step, patients can look forward to a future where they can fulfil their dreams of parenthood, even after overcoming cancer.

If you or someone you know is facing a cancer diagnosis, CREATE Fertility is here to support you in your next steps. We provide exceptional treatment services, allowing patients to freeze their sperm and return for treatment when they are able. We also treat patients who have previously frozen samples elsewhere. Our team approach the care of in remission patients with compassion and understanding. Being aware of fertility preservation options is extremely important. By doing so, you can ensure that the possibility of becoming a parent remains within reach.

Browse our web page on sperm freezing for more information on preserving your fertility.