Fertility in Men With CF Post-Transplant

By learning about the implications of all transplant-related medications and treatments before undergoing a transplant, men with cystic fibrosis can avoid some of the harmful reproductive side effects and improve their ability to have biological children post-transplant. 

3 min read
Summary
  • Biological fatherhood after a lung transplant is  possible, but anti-rejection medications can cause birth defects.
  • For this reason, men with cystic fibrosis who plan on getting a transplant may consider freezing their sperm or using a sperm donor.
  • Insurance does not generally cover the cost of freezing and storing sperm and it can place an added financial burden on those who are often already paying out-of-pocket costs for their CF care.

Although biological fatherhood after a lung transplant is certainly possible, many commonly prescribed anti-rejection medications have been known to cause birth defects. For this reason, some reproductive specialists may reject post-transplant sperm for use in in-vitro fertilization (IVF), intrauterine insemination (IUI) and other assisted reproductive technology (ART) techniques.

If you are a man with cystic fibrosis who is planning to start a family at any point in your future, you should let your doctors or care team know that as part of any transplant-related conversations so that they can help you understand the implications of all treatments and medications ahead of time.

When my mom used to ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I told her that I wanted to be a dad. Even though my care team informed me about my infertility, I always held onto the fact that I could still have biological children through ART. In all my conversations leading up to my eventual lung transplant, I had no idea that transplantation would affect my ability to build a family in any way until my wife and I were told by our urologist that we would not be able to use my sperm for our IVF.”
- Kyle Cole

Owing to the increased risks of birth defects associated with many common anti-rejection medications, men with CF who plan on getting a transplant may consider freezing their sperm in advance at a sperm bank or using a sperm donor. This way, men with CF can preserve their sperm before their transplant without having to worry about any harmful effects associated with their post-transplant recovery or medications.

The cost of freezing and storing sperm varies from one sperm bank to another but is typically less than $500 a year. Although it is cheaper for men to freeze and store their sperm than it is for women to freeze and store their eggs, the fact that insurance generally does not cover the cost of using a sperm bank can place an added financial burden on those who are often already paying out-of-pocket costs for their CF care.

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Compass can help by connecting you to resources that can assist you in affording care and working through issues surrounding insurance coverage and benefits, financial resources, legal information and other concerns related to life with CF. To learn how CF Foundation Compass can help you with the cost of freezing and storing sperm and other financial barriers, call 844-COMPASS (844-266-7277) Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. ET, or email compass@cff.org.

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Topics
Adult Care | Family Planning & Parenting | Fertility and Reproductive Health
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