5 Facts About Testicular Cancer and Infertility

Many men live healthy, happy lives following testicular cancer treatment. In fact, testicular cancer treatments are so effective that five-year survival rates for men with testicular cancer are above 95 percent. When it comes to testicular cancer and male fertility, however, the news can be a bit more serious. Men with testicular cancer are often at risk for infertility.

Ask a doctor about fertility and cancer

If you have been diagnosed with testicular cancer, it’s important that you see a fertility specialist before beginning treatment. Here are five facts you should know about testicular cancer and male infertility

  1. Testicular cancer often affects men during their reproductive years, when fertility is most crucial.
  2. A man's testicles manufacture sperm. This means that testicular cancer and testicular cancer treatment may affect sperm health, cause low sperm count, or other male fertility problems.
  3. Radiation and chemotherapy treatment of the testicles may damage a man's ability to produce sperm. These treatments may cause infertility once cancer treatment ends.
  4. Surgical treatment for testicular cancer may include the removal of one or both testicles. At times, this may lead to infertility.
  5. On the other hand, testicular cancer itself can actually cause low sperm counts for some men. This means that sperm counts may improve, and fertility may return for some men following cancer treatment

Some men are able to father children without assistance after cancer treatment while others become infertile. If you are at risk for male infertility following testicular cancer treatment, ask your doctor about fertility preservation. Fertility preservation options for men include freezing and storing sperm in a sperm bank before treatment begins. The fertility preservation process can protect your fertility and ensure that you are able to become a father, even after testicular cancer treatment.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Mersereau, Medical Director at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility.

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