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Infertility and prostate cancer treatment

You might not be able to have children after prostate cancer treatment. This can be difficult to cope with.

Surgery to remove your prostate gland means that you no longer ejaculate any semen (dry orgasms). So you will not be able to have children by natural sexual intercourse. This is because your sperm cannot pass into your partner's vagina during sex.

Men who have had radiotherapy or hormone therapy might produce less semen, or no semen. Radiotherapy and hormone therapy can also damage sperm and reduce sperm count. So it might be more difficult for you to have children naturally.

If you want to have children, sperm can be saved (sperm banking) before your treatment.  

For men who have had a prostatectomy it might be possible to take sperm directly from your testicles. The sperm can be used to fertilise your partner directly or with the test tube baby technique (in vitro fertilization – IVF).

Precautions

It is still possible for men to be fertile during their treatment with radiotherapy, hormone therapy or chemotherapy. Radiation or hormone or chemotherapy drugs could damage a developing baby. So men are advised to use contraception to avoid pregnancy while having these treatments.  

Last reviewed: 
21 Sep 2016
  • Fertility after prostate brachytherapy with Iode 125 permanent implants for localized prostate cancer.
    Delaunay and others. Prog Urol. 2012 Jan;22(1):53-7

  • Review of the Different Treatments and Management for Prostate Cancer and Fertility.
    S Tran and others
    Urology. 2015 Nov;86(5):936-41.

  • Lifestyle factors correlate with the risk of late pelvic symptoms after prostatic radiotherapy.
    RJ Thomas and others
    Clinical Oncology (Royal College Radiologists (GreatBritain)). 2013 Apr;25(4):246-51.

  • Can lifestyle modification affect men's erectile function?
    MC Hehemann and JA Kashanian
    Translational Andrology Urology. 2016 Apr;5(2):187-94.

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