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Fertility preservation for young male cancer patients

2 December 2002
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 186

Two new research studies have been published in the journal Human Reproduction which 'brings new hope of preserving fertility for boys who face sterility after cancer treatment'.

In the first study, a Japanese team report that they have enabled mice to be born from frozen immature testicular tissue taken from one set of mice and matured in others. They also report that a rabbit was born using semen from testicular material that was matured in a mouse. The mice used to host the tissues had their own sperm destroyed in a way which mimicked damage from cancer treatment. The transplanted testicular tissue grew in the host mice and began to produce sperm, which in each case was injected into recipient eggs of the relevant species. Sixty-two mice were born from 123 embryos implanted into surrogates. One rabbit was born following embryo transplants into two surrogate hosts.

Dr Atsu Ogura, lead author of the Japanese team, said that the research showed 'that immature testicular tissue transplanted into hosts can develop, that we can obtain mature sperm and achieve live births. This gives hope that in the future we will be able to restore fertility even to pre-pubertal boys and babies'.

The second study shows that it is possible to obtain semen from boys as young as 12 and the authors, a team of British researchers, call for sperm banking to be offered to all cancer patients from that age. The team, led by Dr Gulam Bahadur of University College Hospital, London, studied 238 boys about to undergo cancer treatment, and 71 healthy boys. They found that 85 per cent of the boys aged from 12 onwards were able to produce a viable sperm sample that could be cryopreserved.

Dr Bahadur said 'this is an important and heartening finding. Adult patients are routinely offered pre-treatment sperm cryopreservation. But, this facility has only recently begun to be offered to adolescents and not much is known about the quality of the semen in this age group and its feasibility for freezing'.

Birth of offspring following transplantation of cryopreserved immature testicular pieces and in-vitro microinsemination
Human Reproduction |  1 December 2002
New fatherhood hope for boy cancer patients
The Times |  28 November 2002
Semen quality and cryopreservation in adolescent cancer patients
Human Reproduction |  1 December 2002
Young cancer patients could save sperm samples
Reuters |  28 November 2002
1 October 2012 - by Emma Stoye 
Two proteins that kick-start the destruction of damaged mouse eggs have been discovered by scientists. The findings may go on to have applications in fertility preservation for female cancer patients who receive aggressive treatment...
11 June 2012 - by Valerie Peddie 
Major professional bodies support the concept of providing every patient of reproductive age with accurate information about the potential risk of impaired fertility after treatment for cancer. In reality, the immediate emphasis is often on treatment, with little time available to discuss options for fertility preservation...
21 July 2005 - by BioNews 
The majority of testicular cancer patients are able to go on to father children, according to a new study published in the British Journal of Cancer. Researchers at the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust quizzed 200 men who tried to have children after treatment...
26 May 2004 - by BioNews 
Scientists in the UK have reported the birth of a healthy baby boy born to a father whose sperm was frozen for 21 years. The man had undergone treatment for testicular cancer at the age of 17, which made him sterile. The researchers, from St Mary's Hospital and Christie Hospital...
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