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New technique devised to restore fertility in cancer patients

16th March 2011

Researchers have found a potential new method of restoring fertility among male patients who were thought to be sterile as a result of childhood cancer treatment.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has shown that a technique called microdissection testicular sperm extraction can help to locate and extract usable sperm from more than one-third of former chemotherapy patients.

Using this method, small areas in the testicles can be identified that are still producing healthy sperm, which can then be used to help patients father children via in vitro fertilisation.

This offers a potential new option to those affected by chemotherapy-related azoospermia, including patients that have experienced severe testicular damage.

Dr Peter Schlegel, chairman of the department of urology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, said: "Even in this situation where we thought sperm production had ceased, there still may be an opportunity for fertility with the use of assisted reproductive techniques like this one."

Earlier this month, the US Magee-Womens Research Institute launched a scheme that aims to freeze testicular or ovarian tissue from younger cancer patients with the hope of using them to restore fertility at a later date using experimental procedures.ADNFCR-8000103-ID-800465085-ADNFCR

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