INVESTIGATION OF FERTILIZING CAPACITY OF CRYOPRESERVED SPERMATOZOA FROM PATIENTS WITH CANCER

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Abstract

Purpose

There are few published reports concerning fertilization and pregnancy outcomes achieved with cryopreserved spermatozoa from cancer patients. Controversy exists regarding the value of sperm banking for these patients before therapy, whether the spermatozoa are viable after long-term storage and whether they can fertilize the ovum. We assess fertilization and pregnancy outcomes achieved with cryopreserved spermatozoa from cancer patients using assisted reproductive techniques.

Materials and Methods

We studied 10 cancer patients who transferred cryopreserved semen specimens from our sperm bank to outside in vitro fertilization programs for assisted reproductive technique. Of these patients 5 had Hodgkin's disease, 2 testicular cancer, 1 leukemia and 2 prostate cancer. The length of specimen storage ranged from 14 to 135 months (median 49, interquartile range 24 and 82).

Results

The median pre-freeze motility was 44% (interquartile range 36 and 55%) and the median total sperm count was 31.1 x 106 (interquartile range 6.3 and 53.9 x 106). At 24 hours after banking the median post-thaw motility was 11% (interquartile range 6 and 35%) and the median total sperm count was 6.6 x 106 (1.2 and 17.1 x 106). A total of 18 cycles of assisted reproductive technique were performed among 10 couples with an overall pregnancy rate of 50% per couple, with 2 deliveries, 1 ongoing pregnancy and 2 miscarriages. The pregnancy rate per cycle of in vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection was 36.4% with an implantation rate of 13%.

Conclusions

These results indicate that poor quality cryopreserved spermatozoa from cancer patients, irrespective of the length of storage, may provide successful results with the latest micromanipulative techniques such as intracytoplasmic sperm injection.

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