Effects on fertility
Some people find that their fertility is affected by treatment for testicular cancer. Learn about how surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy can impact fertility, and ways to manage fertility changes.
Most men who have had one testicle removed can go on to have children naturally. Men who have both testicles removed (rarely required) will no longer produce sperm and will be infertile. Men who experience retrograde ejaculation after RPLND will also be infertile.
Both chemotherapy and radiation therapy can temporarily decrease sperm production and cause unhealthy sperm. It may take one or more years before there are enough healthy sperm to conceive a child. In some cases, infertility may be permanent.
- Use sperm banking to store sperm before cancer treatment for use at a later date. Samples can be stored for many years. Although there is a cost involved, most sperm-banking facilities have various payment plans to make it more affordable. Ask your cancer specialist to refer you to a fertility specialist so you can find out more about your options.
- Avoid pregnancy until sperm are healthy again by using contraception during and after chemotherapy or radiation therapy for about 6–12 months, as advised by your doctor. You may need a sperm analysis test to determine this.
- If infertility appears to be permanent, talk to a counsellor or family member about how you are feeling. Infertility can be very upsetting for you and your family, and you may have many mixed emotions about the future.
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Prof Declan Murphy, Urologist and Director of Genitourinary Oncology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Gregory Bock, Urology Cancer Nurse Coordinator, WA Cancer and Palliative Care Network, North Metropolitan Health Service, WA; A/Prof Nicholas Brook, Senior Consultant Urological Surgeon, Royal Adelaide Hospital and The University of Adelaide, SA; Clinical A/Prof Peter Grimison, Medical Oncologist, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and The University of Sydney, NSW; Dr Tanya Holt, Senior Radiation Oncologist, Radiation Oncology Princess Alexandra Hospital Raymond Terrace (ROPART), QLD; Brodie Kitson, Consumer; Elizabeth Medhurst, Genitourinary and Stereotactic Ablative Body Radiotherapy (SABR) Nurse Consultant, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Rosemary Watson, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Victoria.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
Coping with cancer?
Speak to a health professional or to someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum
Need legal and financial assistance?
Pro bono services, financial and legal assistance, and no interest loans
Looking for transport, accommodation or home help?
Practical advice and support during and after treatment
Fertility and cancer
Learn more about how cancer can affect fertility, and ways to manage this
Sexuality, intimacy and cancer
Learn about how cancer may affect your sexuality and your relationships
Living well after cancer
Learn about the challenges you may face after cancer treatment