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Can Urol Assoc J. 2012 Oct;6(5):E174-8. doi: 10.5489/cuaj.10084. Epub 2011 May 1.

"Just what the doctor ordered": Factors associated with oncology patients' decision to bank sperm.

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Centre for Fertility and Reproductive Health, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, ON; Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON;



The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to explore factors associated with oncology patients' decision to bank sperm prior to cancer treatment.


Patients who were referred to the oncology sperm banking program between January 2009 and March 2010 were invited to complete an 18-item questionnaire during one of their sperm banking visits.


Of the 157 cancer patients referred to the Mount Sinai Oncology Sperm and Tissue Bank for sperm banking during the 15-month period, 79 questionnaires were returned (50% response rate). Of the respondents, 89% were informed about sperm banking by their physician. Future family planning was cited as the main reason to bank. Cost was not a barrier for the vast majority of respondents. Forty percent of respondents banked sperm within 4 days prior to initiating cancer treatment. Most respondents relied on their physician for verbal information on sperm banking. Eighty-one percent were unaware of any patient organizations that have educational materials on oncology fertility preservation.


Sperm banking prior to cancer treatment is the only proven method of preserving fertility for cancer patients. The two main determinants associated with deciding whether to bank sperm were: the physician's recommendation and the patient's desire for future fatherhood. Physicians play a key role in influencing patients' decisions. The recommendation to bank sperm is a persuasive message if patients are clearly informed about their potential risk of infertility post-cancer treatment, and that sperm banking is an effective way of preserving fertility. Providing patients with education materials might enhance compliance in sperm banking.

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