A majority of cancer treatments that are used today can render a man infertile. If they know in time, they can bank some of their sperm for later use if they have to be treated for cancer. However, some either don’t know this, didn’t choose to do it, or were treated for cancer before they reached puberty so they didn’t have an option to give sperm at the time.
The new technique to help these men become fathers is being conducted by researchers at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical Center. A similar procedure was made possible more than 10 years ago for men who were made infertile for various reasons. However, now they are discovering that it can be used in some men who had cancer as a child and until now have been told they were sterile.
The way it works is that a surgeon conducts a micro biopsy of the man’s testicular tissue to look for any sections that may contain sperm. Then, if any is found, it can be saved and used in regular in vitro fertilization to try to get a partner pregnant. In this new procedure, the doctors are able to get small amounts of sperm from about a third of the men. The resulting pregnancies have produced 20 children out of the 27 men whose sperm was able to be harvested, making the odds pretty good for having a baby. The total amount of men in the study was 73.
The brand new study determined that the men who had the best chance of being able to produce sperm through the new surgery were those that had been treated for testicular cancer. The men with the lowest chances of finding sperm through the new procedure were those men who had been treated for sarcoma during childhood.
The new surgery runs between $10,000 to $12,000 and doesn’t include the costs of IVF to get the partner pregnant. It’s being done now at several medical centers around the U.S.