Can testicular cancer affect fertility?

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

By Jason Howland

It's a common concern among men who are diagnosed with testicular cancer. Will I be able to have children in the future?

So what are the effects of testicular cancer and its treatment on fertility?

Watch this "Mayo Clinic Minute" video to hear Bradley Leibovich, M.D., a Mayo Clinic urologic oncologist, discuss how fertility concerns are addressed when planning testicular cancer treatment:

"When we first evaluate men with a new suspected testicular cancer, we do talk about fertility," says Dr. Leibovich. "Can I still have kids?" is one of the top questions he hears.

"Men with testicular cancer have fertility concerns because the testicular cancer itself can impact fertility and our treatments can impact fertility. So the first thing we do with men that are interested in preserving fertility is talk about sperm banking," says Dr. Leibovich.

One side effect of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and other cancer treatments can be infertility, which is why it's important for men who still want to have children after their cancer is cured to save their sperm before they start treatment.

"Fertility issues we normally address up front by assuring that men sperm bank, so it's rare that's a long-term concern for men," he says.

Another concern is lower levels of testosterone, a hormone produced primarily in the testicles.

"Most men have normal testosterone levels with just one testicle. For men that do wind up with a lower level of testosterone, it's really easy to replace," says Dr. Leibovich.

Under the guidance of a healthcare professional, testosterone replacement therapy, in the form of injections, pills, patches or gels, can restore normal testosterone levels in men.

Learn more

Learn more about testicular cancer and find a clinical trial at Mayo Clinic.

Join the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Support Group on Mayo Clinic Connect, an online community moderated by Mayo Clinic for patients and caregivers.

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A version of this article was originally published on the Mayo Clinic News Network.