Follow-up of cancer patients who underwent testicular tissue preservation

Spermatogonia are the male germ cells which are present from birth onward in the male testes. These germ cells will give rise to functional spermatozoa during puberty: a process called spermatogenesis. This process can be disturbed by treatments (like chemo- and radiotherapy), Klinefelter syndrome, cryptorchidism, and genetic or endocrine disorders during childhood which may lead to partial or complete loss of the spermatogonia.

As a consequence, these young boys face life-long sterility or subfertility. Sperm banking is not an option for them as spermatogenesis only starts at puberty. Therefore, an alternative fertility preservation strategy is proposed for these young boys to prevent later fertility problems: banking of testicular tissue before treatment followed by auto-transplantation or in-vitro maturation at adulthood.

In order to harvest their testicular tissue, these young boys need to undergo a testicular tissue biopsy. Although the biopsy procedure itself does not have a high complication rate, little is known about its effects on the long-term on the pubertal development and fertility of young boys. For this project, we want to investigate the long-term effects of a testicular tissue biopsy procedure at young age on later pubertal development and fertility.

 

Biology of the testis BITE • ©2009 • http://emgebite.vub.ac.be
VUB • Faculty of Medicine & Pharmacy • Laarbeeklaan 103 • B-1090 Brussel, Belgium
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