Article Abstract

Effect of a formal oncofertility program on fertility preservation rates—first year experience

Authors: Diana M. Lopategui, Emad Ibrahim, Teodoro C. Aballa, Nancy L. Brackett, Raphael Yechieli, Julio C. Barredo, Ranjith Ramasamy


Background: A formal fertility preservation program was initiated at our institution in 2016 as part of a multi-disciplinary oncofertility initiative to improve the reproductive needs of oncologic patients. After 1 year of initial experience, we assessed sperm banking rates in men diagnosed with cancer, as well as examined the trends in the use of fertility preservation services.
Methods: We performed a chart review from 2011 to 2017 for men newly diagnosed with cancer, and for all men who underwent fertility preservation during that period of time at our institution. We assessed the rates of sperm banking among patients newly diagnosed with cancer, before and after the implementation of a standardized oncofertility program in 2016. The program includes nursing and physician education regarding indications of fertility preservation. Additionally, we evaluated the overall population undergoing sperm cryopreservation at our institution during the study period.
Results: From 2011 to 2016, 30 of 902 oncologic patients underwent sperm banking prior to their treatment (3.3% of total cancer patients). After the program was implemented, 42 of 218 patients underwent fertility preservation between June 2016 and August 2017 (19.3% of total cancer patients). In this group, patients’ mean age was 30.14 years old (range, 13–69 years old), with 6 pediatric patients; 36 of the samples (85.7%) were obtained from masturbation. When viable sperm could not be obtained from ejaculation, patients underwent either testicular or epididymal sperm extraction (6 cases). Overall, 98 men used the formal fertility preservation service. Of these, 42 were cancer patients and 56 were non-cancer patients. Of the non-cancer patients, 17 banked sperm after varicocelectomy, 6 prior to vasectomy and 6 because of hypogonadism.
Conclusions: Rate of sperm banking increased nearly six-fold after institution of a formal fertility preservation program, indicating the clinical need for such a program at academic institutions. Oncofertility is a relevant part of the care for oncologic patients, and should be considered as part of counseling before cancer treatment.

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