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J Oncol Pract. 2016 May;12(5):465-71. doi: 10.1200/JOP.2015.010579. Epub 2016 Apr 26.

Young Men With Cancer Experience Low Referral Rates for Fertility Counseling and Sperm Banking.

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University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC



With improved cancer survival rates and the current trend of delaying parenthood, fertility is a growing issue among cancer patients. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the incidence of fertility counseling and sperm banking in reproductive-age male cancer patients and to assess factors that influence counseling and banking.


Male patients ages 13 to 50 years who received a new cancer diagnosis from January 1, 2013, to May 1, 2015, and planned to initiate curative chemotherapy at our center were identified. Documentation of fertility counseling and sperm cryopreservation was abstracted from the medical record. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression modeling was used to examine variables associated with fertility counseling and sperm banking.


Of 201 patients who fit the study criteria, 59 (29%) received fertility counseling and 23 (11%) attempted sperm banking. All patients who banked sperm had documentation of fertility counseling. Younger patients were significantly more likely to be counseled, with mean ages of 27.4 and 40.4 years for counseled and noncounseled patients, respectively (P < .001). Among counseled patients, those with a lower median income (P = .038) or who had Medicaid or no insurance (P = .042) were less likely to bank sperm. In a multivariable logistic regression model, older age (5-year odds ratio, 0.61; P < .001) and presence of comorbidities (odds ratio, 0.15; P = .03) remained significantly associated with a lower counseling rate.


There is a low rate of fertility counseling and referral for sperm banking in young men with cancer receiving chemotherapy. Further work is needed to develop interventions to improve fertility counseling rates and opportunities for sperm banking.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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