A survey of oncologists regarding sperm cryopreservation and assisted reproductive techniques for male cancer patients

Daniel M. Zapzalka, Bruce B Redmon, Jon L Pryor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. The authors surveyed the current knowledge, opinions, and clinical practices of oncologists regarding pretherapy cryopreservation of semen from male cancer patients since the introduction of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). METHODS. A survey was sent to all members of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Minnesota. RESULTS. Forty-six of 165 oncologists (28%) responded. Factors considered important in how strongly to recommend cryopreservation were patient age at the time of diagnosis (94%), type of treatment (83%), type of cancer (65%), urgency to initiate treatment (63%), and preexisting infertility (57%). Oncologists perceived patients to be significantly more concerned about cryopreservation than they were themselves during pretherapy counseling (P = 0.0005). Oncologists estimated that 27% of their patients chose to cryopreserve sperm. However, only 26% of the oncologists knew about ICSI. The cancers perceived to warrant cryopreservation the most were lymphomas, leukemias, and testicular carcinomas. The treatment modalities perceived to warrant cryopreservation the most were distributed among various chemotherapy and radiation regimens. A majority of respondents to the survey knew where patients could go to cryopreserve sperm (89%), but less than half of the respondents gave accurate information about the cost. CONCLUSIONS. Most of the oncologists surveyed were unaware of recent advances in reproductive technology in which only a few sperm are needed for successful in vitro fertilization with ICSI. This lack of awareness may be contributing to under-utilization of sperm cryopreservation by male cancer patients. Currently, all male cancer patients of reproductive age who will have treatment that may affect testicular function and who may desire children in the future should cryopreserve sperm before the initiation of therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1812-1817
Number of pages6
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 1 1999


  • Cancer
  • Cryopreservation of sperm
  • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection
  • Medical oncology
  • Survey


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