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Stem Cell Transplant Patients At Risk for Infertility

Study reports only 3 percent of patients conceived post-treatment

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Cancer patients who undergo myeloablative stem cell transplant have a higher prevalence of infertility and concerns about infertility than their siblings or friends, according to a report published online Aug. 8 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Camille Hammond, M.D., of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues surveyed 120 stem cell transplant recipients before and 10 years after their treatment about their perceived fertility status, concerns about infertility and efforts to conceive. Responses were compared to siblings or friends matched by age, sex and race.

Twenty-six percent of survivors reported moderate to high concern about infertility compared to 7 percent of controls. Twenty-two percent of survivors explored family-building options because of infertility, compared to 9 percent of controls. Survivors without children prior to transplant were more likely to have elevated concern about infertility after 10 years (odds ratio, 3.41). Only four patients (3 percent), all male, conceived post-treatment.

"The prevalence of infertility and elevated infertility concern is higher among stem cell transplant long-term survivors than among sibling or friend controls, and these concerns do not resolve over time," the authors conclude. "Although many survivors find ways to add children to their families, younger stem cell transplant recipients and those without children have persistent fertility-related morbidity 10 years after treatment."

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