Your child’s cancer and its treatment might affect his ability to have children in the future. Not all cancer treatments cause fertility problems. This depends on:
- Your child’s age.
- Type of cancer and its location.
- Cancer treatment.
Discuss with your doctor any questions about the effect of cancer or treatment on your child’s fertility. If needed, your doctor will refer you to a specialist at the start of treatment.
What is the male reproductive system?
The male reproductive system includes the following organs:
- Two testicles or testes
- Sperm ducts: epididymis and vas deferens
- Glands: seminal vesicles and prostate
- At puberty, the testes start producing sperm and hormones, mainly testosterone.
- Sperm is stored in the testes, it then passes through the sperm ducts and exits body through the urethra.
- Urine passes from the bladder then exits the body through the urethra as well.
What is the effect of cancer on male reproduction?
Some cancers might affect the health of your child’s sperm before treatment begins. They might cause:
- A low sperm count.
- Abnormal shape of sperm.
- Less sperm movement.
What is the effect of cancer treatment on male reproduction?
A. Not all cancer treatments affect your child’s fertility. This depends on the:
- Number and type of sperms produced before treatment.
- Type of surgery.
- Type and dose and duration of chemotherapy.
- Location and dose of radiotherapy.
B. Cancer treatment such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy might:
- Stop the testes from making healthy sperms.
- Hurt nerves needed to ejaculate the sperms out of the urethra.
- Decrease hormones that affect sperm production.
C. Surgery to reproductive organs might cause:
- Problems with erection.
- Problems with ejaculation.
How does cancer treatment affect boys who have not reached puberty?
- Cancer treatment might cause early or delayed puberty.
- Radiation to the brain might affect the hormones that are linked to puberty.
- Radiation to the pelvis might affect the testes and the production of sperm during puberty.
Which cancer treatments increase the risk of male infertility?
- It is hard to know how cancer treatment will affect your child exactly. Some types of chemotherapy and radiation are known to affect fertility more than others.
- If chemotherapy was used in combination with radiation, the risk of infertility is higher.
Chemotherapy (might cause infertility if given in high doses)
- Nitrogen mustard
- Actinomycin D
Radiation therapy (high doses of radiation therapy to testicles or brain leads to testosterone deficiency)
- Total lymph nodes
- Total body
- Removal of both testicles (results in infertility and testosterone deficiency)
- Removal of retroperitoneal lymph nodes (results in damage to the pelvic nerves and affects ejaculation)
- Cystectomy - Removal of the bladder (causes problems in erection and ejaculation)
- Prostatectomy – Removal of the prostate (causes problems in erection and ejaculation)
Are there ways to preserve male fertility?
Sperm banking before treatment.
Sperm banking is a way to save fertility in males treated for cancer. Sperms are stored to be used later on. Sperm banking should be done before the beginning of treatment. It is applicable for children who have reached puberty.
Does my Insurance Policy cover fertility?
No. According to CCHI unified Policy terms and conditions, health insurance policies in Saudi Arabia doesn’t cover the treatment of fertility.Please Click Here to access the Unified CCHI Policy Wordings.
References:"Cancer and Male Reproductive System." How Cancer Treatments Can Affect Fertility in Men. N.p., 6 June 2013. Web. 12 Oct. 2016.
"Cancer and Male Reproductive System." Male Fertility and Cancer Treatment. N.p., 25 July 2016. Web. 12 Oct. 2016.
Cancer and male reproductive system." Rules. N.p., n.d. Web. Oct. 2016.