A new method aids men to become fathers who are once considered sterile due to chemotherapy. The technique involves the removal of individual sperms from testicular tissues.
Researchers at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center pioneered the technique.
Twenty children have been born to the female partners of men who underwent the technique, known as microdissection testicular sperm extraction (TESE), according to the scientists.
After the sperm was taken from the tissue, they were injected into eggs that had been clinically removed from the women. Of the 73 men in the study, 15 became fathers.
The findings prove the value of this approach in helping men whose fertility had been compromised by chemotherapy treatment, said Peter Schlegel, urologist-in-chief at the Center.
After patients are given anesthesia, surgeons essentially operate inside the testes using a surgical microscope. The testicular tissue is microdissected until sperm is found. TESE is followed by immediate intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) into eggs to fertilize them.
The men treated in this study had all been treated with chemotherapy for a variety of cancers, including lymphoma, leukemia, testicular (germ cell) cancers and sarcoma.
Sperm was successfully retrieved in 37 percent of patients. In these patients, the fertilization rate was 57 percent per injected egg.
Half of the women who received fertilized eggs became pregnant, and the live birth rate was 42 percent-there were 15 deliveries with five twin births for a total of 20 healthy children.
They also found that the children born to these men did not have birth defects, which is a concern that patients sometimes have, said Schlegel.
The study appeared in the March 14 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.