A study conducted by scientists at the University of Warwick have found that 21% of clinicians are unaware of local policies on sperm banking. Only 1 in 4 of the 500 clinicians surveyed reported that discussions about sperm banking with male cancer patients were routinely documented.
That many men with cancer are not being offered the opportunity to store their sperm prior to undergoing treatment is concerning. This is especially so because some chemotherapy drugs can increase the risk of infertility, reducing the sperm count or quality.
The study’s author, Dr. Ann Adams from Warwick Medical School, said: “It’s vital that all teenagers and men of any age who may want to start a family in the future are given the chance to bank their sperm.”
Despite the fact that the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence advise doctors to offer men the opportunity, clinicians’ lack of awareness of this policy means that many have failed to do so. According to the study, only
26% of oncologists and 38% of haematologists reported discussing the issue with their male cancer patients.
The study was funded by Cancer Research UK. Martin Ledwick, Head Information Nurse at the institute, has expressed hope that the research will raise awareness of need and importance of discussion sperm banking as an option.