Fertility preservation for men and boys

Fertility preservation means collecting and storing the sperm, eggs or embryos that you will need to start a pregnancy. If cancer treatment damages your fertility, these can be used with fertility treatments to help you try for a baby in the future.

Your cancer doctor may arrange for you to talk to a specialist fertility doctor about this. They will be able to explain what preservation involves. If you decide to have fertility preservation, this is usually done at a fertility clinic.

Storing sperm

You can store (or bank) sperm at any age after puberty (when your body begins to change from a child into an adult). This usually involves masturbating (wanking) into a small container in a private room in the fertility clinic. Your sperm is then stored and frozen.

If possible, you give two or three samples of sperm in a week. But if you can only give one sample before cancer treatment starts, that may still be enough. You are usually advised not to have sex or masturbate for a couple of days before collecting each sample. This allows more sperm to be collected.

We have more information about sperm banking that you may find helpful. There is also a video on our website of Robert talking about his experience of sperm banking.

I went to a sperm bank five times before chemotherapy. I still don’t know if the treatment has affected my fertility, but it’s nice to know there is sperm frozen for down the line.


Researching new treatments

If you have not reached puberty yet, your body can’t produce sperm to store. Researchers are trying to find other fertility preservation treatments for boys who need cancer treatment before puberty.

We know it is possible to collect and freeze small pieces of testicle before cancer treatment starts. But research is still working out how these may be used to start a pregnancy. So far, no pregnancies have been started using this approach.