Utilization of sperm banking and barriers to its use in testicular cancer patients

D. W. Sonnenburg, M. J. Brames, S. Case-Eads, L. H. Einhorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


Purpose: Testicular cancer is the most common carcinoma in 20- to 40-year-old men. Eighty percent of patients with metastases achieve disease-free status with chemotherapy with or without surgical resection. Standard first-line chemotherapy is bleomycin, etoposide, and cisplatin (BEP) for three to four courses or etoposide and cisplatin (EP) for four courses. Forty percent of patients receiving chemotherapy will have permanently reduced sperm counts impairing future fertility. Sperm banking is an effective method of maintaining fertility. This retrospective study was performed to assess utilization and results from sperm banking, as well as the barriers to its use. Methods: Patients 18 and older who had received chemotherapy were given a five-item questionnaire on follow-up visit. This questionnaire included a mix of quantitative and qualitative questions. Results: Two hundred patients enrolled in the study, and all 200 completed the questionnaire. Of the two hundred, 139 (70 %) patients chose not to bank sperm; 71 (51 %) of those were not interested, 25 (18 %) declined due to desire to start chemotherapy, 24 (17 %) were not offered, 12 (9 %) declined due to cost, and 7 (5 %) answered “other.” The average age at cancer diagnosis of patients who banked sperm was 28.4 as opposed to 32.6 for patients who did not (p = 0.003). The percentage of patients that had children before their diagnosis was 21 % in the sperm banking group, and 50 % in the group that did not (p = 0.0002). Sixty-one (30 %) chose to bank sperm; 11 of 61 patients (18 %) utilized the banked sperm; 9 of 11 (82 %) patients that utilized were successful; and 3 of 9 (33 %) successes resulted in multiple gestations. Conclusions: Sperm banking provides the opportunity for paternity in testicular cancer patients with reduced sperm counts following treatment. However, the majority of these patients chose not to bank sperm or were not offered the opportunity. A range of factors such as time, emotional state, patient age, disease stage, prior children, institutional practices, and cost all influence whether banking is offered to patients and taken up. The authors provide recommendations to help clinicians overcome some of these barriers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2763-2768
Number of pages6
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015


  • Fertility
  • Sperm banking
  • Testicular cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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