Oncofertility for males

What is fertility?

Fertility is being able to reproduce. This means that a man is able to get a woman pregnant.

How can cancer treatment affect my child’s fertility?

  • Chemotherapy can damage the testicles, which are the organs in the man that produce sperm. These organs also produce important hormones, including testosterone.
  • Radiation to the brain can damage parts of the brain that tell the testicles to produce sperm. Radiation to the testicles can also result in damage to sperm and hormone production.
  • Chemotherapy and radiation treatment can lead to infertility (inability to have children).

Why should I think about my child’s future fertility now?

  • Today, cancer treatments allow patients to live longer.
  • Many survivors of cancer want to have children of their own.
  • There are options available that might help protect your child’s fertility (fertility preservation) before cancer treatment, allowing your child to have his own children later in life.

What is fertility preservation?

Fertility preservation methods are used to try to help a person have a child even though it might be planned for him to receive treatment that will damage his fertility potential. Sperm can be saved in many young men prior to receiving cancer treatment, and those sperm can be used later to get a woman pregnant. Sperm can be obtained through ejaculation in young men after puberty. In younger boys, methods of obtaining sperm may require surgery to get immature sperm directly from the testicle, where they are made. These sperm can be frozen and later used to get a woman pregnant using assisted reproductive technologies (ART) when your child is ready to have children.

It is best to discuss and use these options before receiving treatment that might damage your child’s fertility.

5 important questions to ask your physician

  1. How quickly does my child need to start cancer treatment?
  2. Will cancer or its treatment potentially affect his fertility?
  3. How can I protect my child’s fertility?
  4. Should I see a male reproductive specialist?
  5. Can my child have his own biological children after treatment(s)?

Online resources

A multidisciplinary team of specialists

Our team works with your child’s oncologist to ensure that every patient has easy access to fertility counseling and preservation treatment. Your decision to participate in fertility preservation will not delay your child’s cancer treatment.

Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers
Wallace Tower, 14th Floor
6701 Fannin St.
Houston, TX 77030
832-822-4242

Texas Children’s Pediatric Urology
Wallace Tower, 8th Floor
6701 Fannin St.
Houston, TX 77030
832-822-3160

Baylor College of Medicine Male Reproductive Medicine and Surgery
St. Luke’s O’Quinn Tower, Suite 1700
6624 Fannin St.
Houston, TX 77030
713-798-4001 (for appointments)
713-798-6654 (for insurance-related questions)

Baylor College of Medicine Special Procedures Laboratory
Open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
St. Luke’s O’Quinn Tower, Suite 1705
6624 Fannin St.
Houston, TX 77030
713-798-4027 (physician order required for appointment)