Testicular cancer is the most common malignancy seen in young
men. Haematological malignancies (cancers of the blood) such as
leukaemia and lymphomas are also seen frequently. Treatments may
involve significant surgery (for testicular malignancies),
chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Systemic chemotherapy and pelvic
radiotherapy can lead to testicular failure, meaning that the
testes are unable to produce sperm in the future.
Men facing potentially sterilising therapies can be offered the
opportunity to bank semen before they start treatment. A semen
sample is produced, the sperm extracted and frozen for the future.
Samples can be legally stored for up to 55 years in the UK. When
the patient returns to use the samples, they may be used within
insemination treatment or, if there are additional female factors
or the semen sample is of poorer quality, within IVF and/or ICSI.
Not all men who have sperm stored will be eligible for NHS funded
fertility treatment when they return to use the sperm, but we can
continue to store the sperm until the patient decides whether he
wishes to use the stored samples, either within NHS funded
treatment or private fertility treatment.