New Study: Innovative Technique Allows Male Cancer Survivors Sterile From Treatment to Father Children
San Francisco – January 13, 2010. Men who were previously deemed sterile due to aggressive cancer treatments may still be able to biologically father children according to a new study published in the journal Bone Marrow Transplantation.
Sperm mapping offers men who are ‘sterile’ new hope for fatherhood.”
– Dr. Paul Turek
The study’s lead author, Paul Turek, MD, former professor and endowed chair at the University of California San Francisco and founder of The Turek Clinic, pioneered the technique, called FNA Sperm Mapping, that is able to discover pockets of viable sperm in the testes. The sperm can then be extracted with minimally invasive procedures and used for in vitro fertilization and single sperm injection.
“This advance in medicine has been a long time in the making, but we have reached a point where a critical mass of physicians believe in and are using sperm mapping as a state-of-the-art tool to help couples conceive,” said Dr. Turek, a men’s reproductive health expert. “Sperm mapping offers men who are ‘sterile’ new hope for fatherhood.”
The study, “Paternity after directed collection of testicular sperm for in vitro fertilization after BMT for hematological malignancies,” documented two novel cases of men who had received high doses of chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation. The men had previously been diagnosed and treated for hematologic cancers (chronic myelogenous leukemia and Hodgkin’s disease) and later, as survivors, desired to father children.
The men were initially found to have no sperm in their ejaculate, a condition known as azoospermia, a finding that occurs more than 70% of cancer survivors after bone marrow transplantation. After undergoing the testis sperm mapping technique, small pockets of sperm were discovered. With assisted reproduction using these sperm, both successfully fathered healthy children.
In previously published research, investigators reported a 65% success rate in finding sperm in the testis of patients with azoospermia after chemotherapy for both benign and malignant disease. However, the cases currently reported involve men who received much higher doses of chemotherapy that are typically associated with bone marrow transplants. And despite the use of assisted reproduction in chemotherapy-exposed sperm, no increase in birth defect rates have been noted.
Dr. Turek notes, however, that for men who need radiation and chemotherapy for cancer treatment, sperm banking prior to the therapy remains the single best way to preserve their reproductive potential.
“Patients with cancer undergoing life-threatening treatments need to be informed of the good news on the other side,” Dr. Turek states, “that there are sophisticated and effective ways to help men become fathers after the storm of cancer treatment has passed.”
About The Turek Clinic
The Turek Clinic is a next-generation men’s healthcare medical practice specializing in issues facing reproductive age men, including male infertility, erectile dysfunction, vasectomy, vasectomy reversal, varicocele repair, and other minimally invasive procedures. The practice was founded in 2008 by Dr. Paul Turek, a pioneer in men’s reproductive health and former endowed chair professor at the University of California San Francisco. Dr. Turek’s work combines innovative and cutting edge techniques with the wisdom of old-world medicine to treat and solve men’s health issues.