Being Well

How a Sperm Bank Can Bring Peace of Mind to Testicular Cancer Patients

If you're like many men who have been diagnosed with testicular cancer, you may worry whether you will be able to father children in the future. Fortunately, using a sperm bank to collect and store your sperm for later can provide peace of mind during a stressful time.

Current projections are that about 8,720 new cases of testicular cancer will be diagnosed in 2016. According to the American Cancer Society, 33 is the average age at which testicular cancer is diagnosed, and a whopping 86 percent of cases occur in adult men under the age of 55, meaning that most men that face testicular cancer will do so in their prime fathering years.

If you’re like many men who have been diagnosed with testicular cancer, you may worry about whether you will be able to father children in the future. Fortunately, using a sperm bank to collect and store your sperm for later can provide peace of mind during a stressful time.

Speak with a Reproductive Specialist First

All cancer patients may face infertility risk following cancer treatment because chemotherapy and radiation often upset the reproductive system’s delicate balance. In the case of testicular cancer, however, the disease itself may cause infertility, notes the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

In order to avoid banking damaged sperm, you should complete this process before your treatment starts, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology. For men, fertility preservation is typically as simple as freezing a sample of semen. If a sample is found to contain only a few live sperm, the healthiest ones can still be harvested for in vitro fertilization. Ask your Oncologist to refer you to a Reproductive Specialist. A Reproductive Specialist will answer your fertility preservation questions and provide the sperm banking services. According to SpermBankDirectory.com, normal pregnancies have ensued from sperm that had been stored for 12 years.

Once Treatment Begins

As the American Cancer Society notes, testicular cancers are almost all treated with radical inguinal orchiectomy — a surgery where the cancerous testicle is removed. Cancer Research UK notes that, after the normal recovery period, the remaining testicle will compensate for the one you’ve lost, and your sex drive and fertility may go back to normal. As MD Anderson mentions, a high dose of radiation can affect fertility, as can certain chemo drugs — but about half of patients recover with normal fertility intact. Even if you have already undergone treatment, you can speak with a Reproductive Specialist to determine your unique options.

An Affordable Option

Insurance companies generally don’t pay for sperm banking, even in cases of testicular cancer. Fortunately, sperm banking may cost only around $500 or so for a single deposit for up to five years, according to estimates from MD Anderson. This makes it an affordable option for many men, considering that many sperm banks may allow cancer patients to pay in installments. Talk to your Reproductive Specialist about possible grant programs that will cover part of the cost for sperm banking, such as LIVESTRONG’s financial assistance program.

Your fertility may return sometime between several months and several years after treatment. Your medical team will advise you when it’s safe to try to father a child once your treatment is complete. If you remain infertile, you still have your frozen samples available to you if you choose to explore fatherhood. The good news is that about half of men with testicular cancer recover fertility following successful treatment. Even so, using a sperm bank before beginning treatment can increase your odds of fathering a child at the right time for you and your family.

To make an appointment to talk about testicular cancer and your fertility options, call 434.924.9333.

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Darcy Lewis
Darcy Lewis