We know that being able to father children is very important to many adult men who have had childhood cancer. So you will have an indepth consultation with a clinical nurse specialist and/or a doctor who specializes in
fertility. The following matters are discussed during this consultation:
- The effect of the treatment on your fertility;
- The options for preserving fertility.
How do your genital organs work?
Your testicles contain so-called leydig cells. They produce the male hormone testosterone. During puberty, testosterone causes your penis and scrotum to grow and you develop more body hair and muscles. After puberty, testosterone keeps your reproductive organ functioning and producing sperm. You also have sertoli cells. These cells ensure the development of the sperm cells. The leydig cells and sertoli cells are both important for your fertility. Your pituitary gland (small organ in the brain that produces hormones) also plays an important role with respect to fertility. It produces hormones that signal your testicles to make sperm cells and testosterone. When you ejaculate, semen comes out of your penis. Semen contains fluids and sperm cells.
Damage to your genitals
Chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery can damage not only sperm cells, but also the cells that produce sperm and the pituitary gland that produces hormones. The result may be that you produce fewer sperm cells, that they are less mobile or that you no longer produce any sperm cells at all. You are then less fertile or sterile.
Before your cancer treatment starts, we can freeze your sperm, that is, your sperm cells. You can use them later if you want to father a child. First, the clinical nurse specialist or doctor estimates what impact the treatment can have on your fertility.
Should you need any further information, please feel free to ask.