Sperm banking for fertility preservation: A 20-year experience

Matrika D. Johnson*, Amber R. Cooper, Emily S. Jungheim, Susan E. Lanzendorf, Randall R. Odem, Valerie S. Ratts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Objective Sperm banking is an effective method to preserve fertility, but is not universally offered to males facing gonadotoxic treatment in the United States. We compared the disposition and semen parameters of cryopreserved sperm from individuals referred for sperm banking secondary to a cancer diagnosis to those of sperm from men banking for infertility reasons. Study design We performed a retrospective cohort study that reviewed 1118 records from males who presented to bank sperm at Washington University between 1991 and 2010. We collected and analyzed demographics, semen parameters, and disposition of banked sperm. Results Four hundred and twenty-three men with cancer and 348 banking for infertility reasons attempted sperm cryopreservation in our unit during the specified time period. The most prevalent cancers in our cohort were testicular (32%), lymphoma (25%), and leukemia (11%). Patients with leukemia had the lowest pre-thaw counts and motility. Most cancer patients (57%) who banked elected to use, transfer to another facility, or keep their specimens in storage. The remaining samples were discarded electively (34%) or following death (8%). Overall semen parameters were similar between the cancer and infertility groups, but demographics, ability to bank a sample, azoospermia rates, length of storage, current banking status, and use of banked sperm differed significantly between the two groups. Conclusions The majority of cancer patients who banked survived their cancer and chose to continue storage of banked samples. Cancer patients were more likely than infertility patients to use or continue storage of banked samples. Our study provides evidence that sperm banking is a utilized modality of fertility preservation in patients with a myriad of cancer diagnoses and should be offered to all men facing gonadotoxic therapies. Further work is needed to determine where disparities in access to sperm banking exist to improve the potential for future fertility in these males.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-182
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Fertility preservation
  • Semen cryopreservation
  • Sperm banking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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