Apr 17, 2019 8:00 AM

Author: AYA Patient Navigation Team

A young man smiles at his baby.
A young man smiles at his baby.

When a man is diagnosed with testicular cancer, providers work quickly to begin treatment. In this fast process, one big concern can move down the list of priorities: fertility. While men of all ages can have testicular cancer, it is the most common cancer for men in their teens, 20s, and 30s, and men in this age group may want to have children someday.

For some, fertility is impacted during treatment but returns when treatment ends. For others, the effects on fertility are permanent. It is important to ask your doctor about the impact treatment can have on your fertility before treatment begins.

Fertility in men with testicular cancer can be affected by several things:

  • Testicular cancer itself may cause low sperm counts.
  • Chemotherapy kills cells that divide quickly. Like cancer cells, sperm cells divide quickly, so chemotherapy can harm or kill sperm cells. Some chemotherapy drugs can also affect the nerves that are needed to get or maintain an erection.
  • Radiation is the use of high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. Radiation can also kill the stem cells that produce sperm if it is aimed at or near the testicles.
  • Surgical procedures may affect the nerve involved in ejaculation.

The most common fertility preservation option for men is sperm banking. During this process, men will collect sperm specimens once or maybe even several times. These specimens will be cryopreserved, or frozen, and stored until the man is ready to try to have a baby. Sperm banking can often be completed in two to three days.

Unfortunately, fertility preservation is often not covered by health insurance. However, there are resources to help reduce the cost:

Huntsman Cancer Institute patients can also contact the patient navigator for adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer for more information. AYA patient navigators direct people who have or had cancer in their teens, 20s, and 30s to information and resources to help with the broader effects of cancer treatment.

AYA Patient Navigation Team

Huntsman Cancer Institute

testicular cancer fertility aya cancer

Cancer touches all of us.

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