Background: Cancer survivor rates have increased over the past few decades leading to a growing interest in research related to quality of life (QoL). We attempted to explore the unique barriers that might prevent adult male cancer patients from accessing sperm cryopreservation in Pakistan. Methods: Semi-structured interviews of male cancer patients aged 18-45 years were audio-recorded in Urdu and translated to English and were transcribed ad verbatim. The topics included information regarding risk of infertility following chemotherapy, future reproductive choices, and barriers to sperm cryopreservation. Questionnaire to physicians containing four content domains of knowledge, attitude, practice, and barriers to sperm banking was also delivered. Data were entered and analyzed on SPSS. Results: Of the 25 patients interviewed, there were 10 cases of leukemia, 3 cases of lymphoma, 2 cases each of colorectal carcinoma and multiple myeloma, 1 case each of neuroblastoma and osteosarcoma, and solitary cases involving the lung, breast, thymus, brain, jaw, and testis. Four patients knew about the risk of infertility. All patients were aware of the option of sperm cryopreservation. Two patients had their sperm preserved before the initiation of chemotherapy. Perceived treatment-related expenses appeared to be the major barrier to sperm cryopreservation in nine patients. This was followed by lack of information, which was cited by eight patients, and religious reasons (n = 2 patients). Other barriers were female gender of the doctor and patient's preferences. Four patients stated no barriers. Nine physicians responded to the questionnaire. Seventy-eight percent of physicians agreed that cancer treatment increases the risk of infertility. 33.3% strongly agreed and 55.6% agreed that infertility can have an adverse impact on QoL. Conclusions: There is a significant lack of awareness among male cancer patients regarding infertility following cancer treatment. It is imperative that physicians inform them of this and discuss treatment options, along with addressing potential barriers.
- sperm banking