News Update: Preserving fertility in prepubertal boys with malignancies

December 1, 2009

Prepubertal boys with malignancies may sustain gonadal damage during treatment, which can lead to fertility problems later in life. ryopreservation of testicular tissue may be an answer.

Prepubertal boys with malignancies may sustain gonadal damage during treatment, which can lead to fertility problems later in life. Cryopreservation of testicular tissue may be an answer.

In a study published in the journal Human Reproduction, researchers offered the option of testicular cryopreservation to parents of prepubertal boys who had diagnosed malignancies and were at high risk for treatment-related gonadal damage. For parents who opted into this pilot protocol, half of the biopsy was frozen for the patient's future use, and the remainder was used for research. Parents were then asked to complete a questionnaire on the factors that influenced their decision. Since January 2008, 16 of 21 eligible families have consented to the biopsy for boys aged 3 months to 14 years; 14 of these patients underwent biopsy without negative intraoperative or postoperative sequelae. Religion, finance, ethics, and the experimental nature of the cryopreservation procedure were not cited as major influencers in parents' decisions.

In boys for whom gonadal damage will be a consequence of treatment for malignancies, testicular biopsy and tissue cryopreservation may be a valid option.