THE BLOG

My Dad Took Me To Bank My Sperm

09/12/2016 08:04 | Updated 09 December 2016

A couple of years ago I was diagnosed with testicular cancer and I survived, but my left bollock didn't.

Because some cancer treatments can affect your fertility, before it all started I had the option to bank some sperm, which was a pretty odd experience.

When the doctor told me I needed to do sperm banking I remember my initial response was shock, because I didn't associate chemotherapy with fertility. I mean the only thing I knew about cancer was from what I had seen on depressing Hollywood films, where they just had a token bald kid sitting in a bed. Unfortunately, when you're diagnosed with cancer the luxury of time is not an option when discussing treatment.

I remember going to the fertility clinic, and seeing all these couples who were obviously trying for a baby together. So you can imagine the kind of looks I got when I walked in with my dad...

He was really upset and I recall him saying to me: 'don't worry son, I will hold your hand every step of the way.' I said: 'dad, I hope you mean a metaphorical hand!'

As this is such a high pressure situation, and holds up your treatment. It begs the question of how many people have been unable to do this on account of feeling "too awkward"?

They had tried to make the whole experience a bit less awkward, by naming all of the private rooms on the corridor after birds. It was fine at the start of the corridor when the rooms had names like 'blackbird' and 'jackdaw'. But 'thrush' and 'swallow'??

Anyway, after you have finished you get a customer satisfaction form to fill in and they ask you how likely you'd be to recommend it to friends and family!

My advice to anyone going through this is that it's always hard to join the dots up looking forward but looking back they always figure themselves out. See it as an opportunity not as a duty. And If I'm honest it's probably the only time in your life you're going to be told by a medical professional to 'do the deed' so to speak...so enjoy the moment and don't worry about the future.

Cancer treatment was tough but positives have come out of it all too. It has given me a unique perspective on life. Which has helped me to become a stand-up comedian.

And I'm speaking out about all of this because CLIC Sargent, a charity that supports young cancer patients, has just launched a new online resource for teenagers and young adults who are worried about cancer treatment and fertility, starring yours truly. Young people with cancer definitely need a better understanding of what is going on with their sperm or eggs!

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About 2,400 young people aged are diagnosed with cancer each year and around 15 per cent of them have a high risk of future fertility problems as a result of treatment.

When you are diagnosed with cancer, some effects of treatment can get glossed over. Not everyone is given enough support and information to help them understand what fertility preservation options are potentially open to them, and to cope with the emotional side of things.

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This is why CLIC Sargent's online resource is so important to help people gain an understanding of what is going on with their fertility.

So if you're worried or know somebody who is, have a look. Alongside me talking about my sperm, you can hear from Daisy who had eggs and embryos frozen and Katharine who had her lovely twins via a donor egg and a surrogate.

CLIC Sargent is the UK's leading cancer support charity for young cancer patients and their families. Visit www.clicsargent.org.uk/fertility to find out more about cancer treatment and fertility.

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