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J Clin Oncol. 2002 Apr 1;20(7):1880-9.

Knowledge and experience regarding cancer, infertility, and sperm banking in younger male survivors.

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Department of Behavioral Science and Pediatrics, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030-4009, USA.



The goal of this study was to survey male patients aged 14 to 40 years at diagnosis and recently treated in two cancer centers to determine their knowledge, attitudes, and experiences regarding cancer-related infertility and sperm banking.


A postal survey about cancer-related infertility and sperm banking was offered to 904 men diagnosed with cancer within the previous 2 years. Eight percent opted out of the study. The others were sent the survey, with a cover letter stating elements of informed consent.


Although the return rate was only 27%, yielding a sample of 201 men, responders did not differ significantly from nonresponders by institution, age, ethnicity, or cancer site. Overall, 51% of men wanted children in the future, including 77% of men who were childless at cancer diagnosis. Despite some anxieties about their own survival and risks to their children's health, men felt that the experience of cancer increased the value they placed on family closeness and would make them better parents. Only 60% of men recalled being informed about infertility as a side effect of cancer treatment, and just 51% had been offered sperm banking. Those who discussed infertility with their physicians had higher knowledge about cancer-related infertility and were significantly more likely to bank sperm. Only 24% of men banked sperm, including 37% of childless men. Lack of information was the most common reason for failing to bank sperm (25%).


All men who are about to receive cancer treatment that could impair fertility should be counseled about such side effects and given adequate information to make an informed decision about banking sperm.

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