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Keywords:

  • cancer;
  • infertility;
  • post-mortem sperm retrieval;
  • post-mortem sperm use

Summary

The question remains as to whether or not men would agree to posthumous sperm use for pregnancy initiation. Often, these individuals' lives are suddenly interrupted and prior consent is rarely given. Therefore, post-mortem retrieval or use of these spermatozoa remains controversial and the incidence of consent for post-mortem sperm use is not clear. Men who bank spermatozoa, however, represent a cohort that can be examined for frequency of consent for post-mortem sperm use. We performed a retrospective chart review for 364 patients presenting for sperm banking at a single institution from 2009 to 2011. Banked specimens represented either ejaculated or surgically retrieved spermatozoa. Demographic information was obtained for each patient and men were grouped by reason for sperm banking, relationship and paternity status, and consent for post-mortem sperm use. The frequency of post-mortem consent was determined within each group. Men were grouped based on reason for banking, including infertility (‘Infertility’) or malignancy prior to treatment (‘Cancer’). Mean ± SD age of the infertility and cancer groups were 40.1 ± 9.9 years and 27.1  ±  9.6 years, respectively. Of the 364 men, 85.9% provided consent for post-mortem sperm use. In the infertility group, 87.4% of men consented. Of these, 92.9% men in a relationship and 62.5% single men consented. Regarding paternity status, 64.7% men with and 56.6% men without children consented. Within the cancer cohort, 83.8% men consented. Of men <18 years old and ≥18 years old, 65.2 and 85.8% consented, respectively. Relationship status yielded 93.2% men in relationships and 79.4% single men consenting. Paternity status in the cancer group yielded 95.8% with and 82.4% men without children consenting. In summary, most men presenting for sperm banking provided consent for post-mortem sperm use, irrespective of reason for banking. Men who are in a relationship or who are fathers were more likely to agree to post-mortem sperm use.