Nurses and Reproductive Biology: Attitudes regarding Sperm Cryopreservation in Patients with Cancer

Introduction: A significant number of men suffering from cancer are faced with the prospect of infertility problems as a result of various forms of cancer treatment. Sperm cryopreservation may be an option for these men, ensuring for them the opportunity to father a child in the future. Aim: This study aimed to investigate the knowledge and attitudes of nurses working in urology departments about sperm cryopreservation for men with cancer. Method: A specially constructed questionnaire was administered to all nurses (n=50) working in the five public urology departments in Thessaloniki in the period 8.1.2009 to 5.3.2009. The questionnaire concerned the knowledge and attitudes of the participants towards sperm cryopreservation and their intention to suggest this method to their patients, as well as the factors influencing their attitudes. Statistical analysis of the responses included Student’s t-test for independent samples, analysis of variance between groups (ANOVA), correlation coefficient r of Pearson and x2 testing. Reliability analysis, using Cronbach’s alpha coefficient and Principal Component Analysis with Varimax rotation were also performed. Results: The nurses who participated in this study showed a relatively low level of knowledge regarding sperm cryopreservation, but they were aware of their ignorance. The desire to have children (78%), the need for immediate start of treatment (78%), and having AIDS (72%) were the factors that would have the greatest influence on the participants’ decision to suggest sperm preservation before treatment to a cancer patient. More generally, the gravity of the health situation appeared to be of greater concern for the nurses than the demographic attributes of the patients [F(1.49) =3.91, p=0.054], which in turn were of greater concern than rest of the characteristics considered [F(1.49)=21.42, p=0.001]. Finally, as far as their personal opinions were concerned, the participants agreed that nurses experience personal difficulties in discussing the subject of sperm cryopreservation, due to lack of available time, the sensitivity of the situation or because of the young age of the patient. The greatest degree of agreement was expressed towards the statement that patients who have their sperm frozen show forward thinking, since there is a concern for infertility problems [F(1.49)=11.57, p=0.001]. Conclusions: Nurses of urology departments have limited knowledge regarding cryopreservation in men with cancer and experience difficulty discussing such a sensitive subject, especially with young patients. The provision of information and education to health professionals may increase their knowledge and allow them to feel more comfortable to suggest sperm cryopreservation to men that need it.

Category: Volume 49, N 3
Hits: 986 Hits
Created Date: 15-09-2010
Authors: Dimitra Palitzika , Konstantina Mantziava , Maria Lavdaniti , Aikaterini Veneti , Stamatis Papaharitou