Preserving Fertility After Cancer Treatments
Coping with a cancer diagnosis can feel overwhelming. Before cancer treatment, your future fertility may not top of mind.
Fertility issues, however, are an unfortunate side effect of many cancer treatments. If you are facing cancer treatment, talk to our specialists about options for preserving your fertility. Our urologists at the Henry Ford Men’s Health Center work closely with your oncologist, and together , we can increase the odds of your having a biological child after cancer treatment.
How cancer treatment affects fertility
Cancer treatments can affect your fertility in different ways. Types of treatments include:
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy’s job is to kill cancer cells but it often affects sperm cells, too. In some cases, sperm production resumes within a few years of stopping chemo treatments.
- Radiation: Radiation therapy targeted anywhere in your pelvic area can damage existing sperm. It can also damage the cells that produce new sperm. Radiation treatment in your brain may affect your pituitary gland. This gland produces hormones that control sperm production.
- Surgery: Pelvic surgery can impact sperm production. Surgery to remove tumors in the colon, rectum, bladder or prostate also can cause erectile dysfunction.
Male fertility preservation options
We work with your oncologist to come up with a plan for preserving your fertility before cancer treatment. Options include:
- Freezing sperm before cancer treatment: Sperm banking or sperm cryopreservation (freezing) is an effective and safe way to save healthy sperm. When you want to have a child, the sperm is thawed and ready to use for in vitro fertilization.
- Testicular shielding: Using this protective shield over your testicles during radiation therapy can help minimize damage to your sperm. It can block radiation from accidentally hitting your reproductive organs.
- Sperm extraction: If cancer or your treatment makes it impossible to ejaculate, we can extract sperm directly from your testicles.
Cancer treatment doesn’t have to mean an end to your fertility. Talk to our specialists and find out how we can help you achieve your goals.