Cancer in anyone is a devastating disease. Cancer in a male of reproductive age is particularly tragic in that, even if the man survives the cancer, the treatments for that cancer can affect his ability to be a father later in life. UCLA Health—The Men’s Clinic is partnered in a multi-disciplinary effort with pediatric and adolescent oncology, as well as adult oncology and reproductive endocrinology faculty at UCLA to make sure or boys and men with cancer are counseled on their reproductive options and needs. Ideally, if a boy is old enough to produce sperm, he and his parents will receive counseling on banking sperm prior to starting any cancer therapy. This will allow the boy to use that sperm when he and his partner are ready for assisted reproductive techniques.
If a man did not bank sperm prior to his cancer therapy, he may still be fertile. Newer cancer chemotherapy agents may be less toxic to sperm producing cells in the testicle but still provide effective cancer treatment. If a man needs radiation therapy, radiation oncologists will do everything possible to shield the testicles during therapy. However, even with all precautions, men after cancer therapy will have diminished fertility. UCLA Health—The Men’s Clinic doctors will fully evaluate male cancer survivors to help predict and optimize their fertility potential through semen analysis, blood tests and also potential surgical therapy for sperm retrieval. The important message is, if you are a cancer survivor and you’ve been told by other doctors that you are infertile, don’t give up. Seek advanced male reproductive specialists to evaluate and explore all options. If the UCLA Men’s Clinic physicians can’t find sperm after exploring all options, they can still counsel couples on other options to allow cancer survivor men to be dads.
Board-certified urologists staff The Men’s Clinic at UCLA and you can be assured you are getting an experienced physician performing your evaluation and procedure in a relaxed and comfortable environment. For more information and to schedule an appointment, please call the UCLA Urology Appointment line at (310) 794-7700.