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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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1
Centre for Fertility and Reproductive Health, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, ON; Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON;

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

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

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

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.

RESULTS:

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.

CONCLUSION:

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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