Dealing With Fertility Issues While Having Cancer Of The Testicles

One of the most pressing issues that men with testicular cancer worry about is the ability to have a family. Fertility can be affected by both the cancer as well as the different treatment options as the two are intertwined. In fact, by the time testicular cancer is diagnosed, your sperm count is likely low. In addition, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and even surgery can alter your sperm counts greatly.

If you are one of the men whose testicular cancer can be treated through surgery, you may see the least impact in regards to fertility. The physical removal of a testicle (called an orchiectomy) can be traumatic but the fact remains, you have one working testicle left that should still be able to produce sperm.

Of course, if the reason for your testicular cancer was the fact that you once had an undescended testicle, then your fertility issues just got more complicated. Doctors suggest that men should use a sperm bank to preserve what mobile sperm they do have in case surgery or some other type of treatment greatly lowers the count, particularly in men who still wish to have families..

In more extreme versions of testicular cancer, a retro peritoneum lymph node dissection is often performed. If you have a certain type of testicular cancer that spreads, this type of surgical procedure is necessary to track and catch any other cancerous sites in your body. This surgery involved the removal of lymph nodes located in back of the abdominal area. The drawback to this surgery is that it tends to traumatize the sympathetic nerves in the area which in turn prevents the release of semen during ejaculation.

Luckily, there are been great advances in the retro peritoneum procedure and doctors can successfully treat the cancerous cells and even remove some of the lymph nodes without disturbing the delicate nerve system. While not 100% successful, over 70% of patients breeze through the surgery with no ill effects. Still, if you are concerned about fertility, you might consider banking sperm just in case.

Chemotherapy treatment for testicular cancer can be quite successful. This drug cocktail treatment hunts down those germ cells that cause the disease. Of course, the healthy germ cells are the ones that help produce sperm but chemotherapy does not always distinguish between the healthy and cancerous germ cells. This means you may find yourself with a low sperm count.

It may take a few years but approximately half the men who have chemotherapy for testicular cancer do end up with normal sperm count. Unfortunately for the other 50%, it’s a crap shoot. A lot of it all depends on how mobile and healthy your sperm were to begin with before the cancer. Again, doctors will likely advise banking your sperm before undergoing chemotherapy on the chance you want kids.

Unless both testicles are affected, radiation therapy will not totally diminish your chances of fertility. Yes, radiation aimed at one particular testicle in particular will render it sterile. However, doctors place a protective shield on the remaining one during radiation treatment so that you still have a chance of children and protecting the mobile sperm there.

Yes, it will be tougher to conceive children with a significant other if you have or have had testicular cancer. However, with a little forethought and planning (i.e. a sperm bank) you can still be optimistic about hearing the pitter patter of little feet sometime in your future.

One Response to “Dealing With Fertility Issues While Having Cancer Of The Testicles”

  1. Besco says:

    As a doctor I witness everyday infertility issues, and I reckon that the source of most difficulties comes from bad habits, concerning health issues.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All material on is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken
based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.