Fertility future with testicular cryopreservation

Fertility preservation is now a reality for male pediatric and adolescent/young adult (AYA) patients with cancer or blood disorders.

The Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC Children’s is a center of excellence and the only program on the West Coast offering testicular preservation for prepubertal patients unable to bank sperm. Testicular tissue is biopsied and preserved in liquid nitrogen.

“Recent research indicates these biopsies contain stem cells, leading to the possibility of generating sperm in the future,” said Dr. Carol Lin, a pediatric oncologist at the CHOC Hyundai Cancer Institute.

Evidence-based research

CHOC participated in an eight-year study alongside U.S. and Israeli institutions to establish a standardized protocol and centralized process to freeze and collect biopsies.

A CHOC Children's pediatric urologist speaks with an adolescent male patient in an exam room

“In total, 189 patients provided samples. A quarter of each sample was used for research and the rest stored for future use. These patients ranged from ages 5 months to 34, with an average age of about 8,” said Lin.

The study discovered that a centralized process and testicular biopsies from multiple sites was a viable option and could accelerate recruitment. Click here to learn more about the study.

Sharing expertise

CHOC is a member of the Oncofertility Consortium, a group of scientists and providers who are committed to fertility preservation in cancer patients. The consortium studies the science of cryopreservation methods, storage of tissue, in vitro follicle growth and communication between patients and doctors, as well as ethical and legal concerns.

Our care and commitment to children has been recognized

CHOC Children’s Hospital was named one of the nation’s best children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report in its 2020-21 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings and ranked in the cancer specialty.

Best Children's Hospitals, U.S. News & World Report, Cancer, 2020-21

Learn how CHOC’s pediatric oncology treatments, expertise and support programs preserve childhood for children in Orange County, Calif., and beyond.

Testicular Cryopreservation bringing hope to CHOC cancer patients

Young male patients undergoing treatment for some cancers or blood disorders at CHOC Children’s have another hope for fertility preservation.

The Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC Children’s is the only program on the West Coast offering testicular cryopreservation as an option for young male patients unable to bank sperm but who would like to take steps to preserve future fertility.

Under the program, testicular tissue is biopsied and stored in liquid nitrogen at temperatures close to absolute zero for future use. Recent research indicates these biopsies contain stem cells, leading to the possibility of generating sperm in the future, says Dr. Carol Lin, an oncologist at the Cancer Institute, and Lisa Klimpel, an oncology nurse practitioner.

CHOC was among a group of U.S. and Israeli institutions to participate in an eight-year study wherein a network of centers used standardized protocol and centralized processing and freezing to collect and store biopsies.

In total, 189 patients provided samples. A quarter of each sample was used for research and the rest stored for future use. These patients ranged from ages 5 months to 34, with an average age of about 8.

Recently published in the journal Human Reproduction, the study, of which Klimpel is a co-author, found that centralized processing and freezing of testicular tissue from multiple sites is feasible and could accelerate recruitment.

A generation ago, cancer survivors had few options to have biological children. Today, many solutions exist, however many oncologists, despite these advancements, still don’t discuss fertility preservation with their patients, particularly young patients. 

At CHOC, however, discussions about fertility preservation with cancer patients early into diagnosis and treatment are a matter of course, as the program works to ensure a meaningful survivorship, says Dr. Lin and Klimpel.

Learn more about referring to the Hyundai Cancer Institute.