Sperm Banking

Last Modified: October 1, 2010

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Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

Recently diagnosed with testicular cancer and need to have surgery to remove my right testicle. doc says it probably will not effect my sperm count, but I am still worried. Can I donate sperm? He did not even mention it. What are the procedures for that? Is it expensive and does insurance cover it?

Answer

Clarisa Gracia, MD, Oncofertility specialist at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, responds:

I would recommend banking sperm. You should contact the nearest IVF clinic in your area and ask about the cost of sperm banking. Many oncologists work with fertility specialists and your doctor may be able to recommend a clinic. It involves masturbation into a sterile container and may be performed several times if needed. The cost varies by clinic but is generally around 2-300 dollars. You also have pay a yearly fee for storage. In may experience insurance does not cover this, but we have been able to obtain coverage for some patients. Your physician may need to write a letter of medical necessity and reference the current ASCO recommendations about fertility preservation.

Some men with testicular cancer have abnormal sperm counts due to the disease so don’t be alarmed if this is the case.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series, Issues Facing Young Adults After Cancer. View the entire transcript.