Sperm banking: use and outcomes in patients treated for testicular cancer


Christopher R. Girasole, Department of Urologic Surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA.e-mail: christopher.girasole@vanderbilt.edu


Authors from the USA present a study aimed at identifying the frequency with which sperm banking was used in patients being treated for testicular cancer. They found that only a minority of their patients chose to bank sperm, and among those who did, the use was low.

Advanced penile cancer requires extensive ablative surgery with resultant anatomical defects that can result in severe loss of quality of life. Authors from the UK describe their experience with the vertical rectus abdominis musculocutaneous flap in such patients, finding it to be useful. They stressed that a multidisciplinary approach involving the urological reconstructive surgeon and the plastic surgeon is essential.


To identify the frequency that sperm banking was used by men being treated for testicular cancer at our institution, and to characterize the differences between men choosing to bank sperm or not, and outcomes in terms of after-treatment pregnancies.


A questionnaire addressing sperm banking and fertility was administered to men treated for testicular cancer at our institution between 1994 and 2004; the results were evaluated statistically.


Overall, 31 of 129 (24%) respondents had banked sperm. Of these, two had used their banked sperm to father a child, and 12 had had children naturally. Men who banked sperm were a mean of 10.3 years younger (P < 0.001) and less likely to have children at the time of diagnosis (P < 0.025) than men choosing not to bank sperm. The cost of banking sperm was reported to include a mean fee of US $358 (median 300, range 0–1000), and a mean annual maintenance fee of $243.86 (median 300, range 0–1200).


Only a minority of men in this study chose to bank sperm (24%). Among those who did, the use of banked sperm was low (<10%), and many men could have children without using banked sperm. Given the relatively high costs of sperm banking and the low rate of sample use, patients should be counselled on the costs and benefits of sperm banking before treatment for testicular cancer.