Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
My husband is 30 years old and was diagnosed with testicular cancer (stage II, 100% embryonal carcinoma). He immediately had surgery and chemotherapy (BEP for 3 cycles). His last chemo treatment was about 8 months ago.
Prior to the cancer, my husband and I had been trying to start a family. We would really like to start trying again. I am unable to find anything online that clearly states how long one must wait [to try to conceive after treatment] and when sperm production is expected to return to normal. His oncologist stated that 'reproductive biologists' recommend that men wait 2 years after chemo to begin trying, but in the same breath he stated that we should be okay if we were to conceive a year after.
Are there any statistics available that clearly show what the best wait time is? When will my husband expect to have a 'normal' sperm count?
Carolyn Vachani RN, MSN, AOCN, OncoLink's Nurse Educator, responds:
We generally say wait 2 years because we know that time period is safe from a genetic damage perspective. Here is some of what is known:
The other issue is whether or not the chemotherapy has caused your husband to be infertile. You could have his semen tested for viable sperm, but then again, you could also just try to conceive and cross that bridge if you come to it. I have cared for quite a few patients who were told they would not be fertile, but next thing they new they were pregnant, so it is not an exact science.
A great resource is www.fertilehope.org.
Aug 17, 2012 - For women diagnosed with early breast cancer during pregnancy, chemotherapy seems acceptable for both mother and infant, with most adverse effects relating to premature birth, according to a study published online Aug. 16 in The Lancet Oncology.
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