Cryopreservation of semen from adolescent patients with malignancies.Med Pediatr Oncol 1996; 26(1):20-7MP
In adult oncological patients semen cryopreservation offers the possibility of preserving fertility prior to aggressive therapy that may lead to infertility. The cryopreserved semen can later be used to induce pregnancies in the partner by techniques of assisted fertilization. In adolescent boys the question of fertility is often beyond consideration when the young patient's life is threatened acutely. However, improved survival rates increasingly prompt the question of quality of life after therapy, including fertility. Semen quality is known to be impaired in patients with malignancies and may be further impaired by the process of cryopreservation. Since normal values for semen in adolescents are not known and spermatogenesis may be impaired by the malignant disease, it was unclear whether semen samples from adolescents with malignancies warrant cryopreservation at all. In order to demonstrate the feasibility of semen cryopreservation in adolescent males, we compared the results from 12 pubertal boys aged 14-17 years with those from 17 young adults aged 18-20 years who had similar malignancies and, additionally, to 210 adults with malignancies (> 20 years). Luteinizing hormone serum values were significantly lower in adolescents than in adult patients. Follicle stimulating hormone showed a significant increase with age. Testosterone serum levels and testicular volumes showed similar distribution patterns in adolescent and adult men. Sperm concentrations, sperm motility, and normal sperm morphology in the adolescent patients did not show significant differences compared with adults. Thus cryopreservation of semen should be considered as an option to young male patients whose cancer therapy will include potentially gonadotoxic treatment.