Desire for biological parenthood and patient counseling on the risk of infertility among adolescents and adults with hemoglobinopathies Journal Articles uri icon

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  • AbstractBackgroundBoth diagnosis and treatment of hemoglobinopathies have been associated with an increased risk of fertility impairment. German guidelines recommend annual monitoring of fertility parameters to enable early detection of fertility impairment and/or to offer fertility preservation (FP) when indicated. We explored the general desire for parenthood, the frequency of recalling fertility counseling and testing, and the utilization of FP in adolescents and adults with hemoglobinopathies.ProcedureIn a cross‐sectional study, patients aged 12–50 years, treated in Germany, Austria, or Switzerland, were surveyed on fertility‐related aspects. Medical data, including fertility testing results, were collected from patient records.ResultsOverall, 116/121 eligible patients, diagnosed with sickle cell disease (70.7%), thalassemia (27.6%), or other hemoglobinopathy (1.7%), participated in our study (57.8% female, median age 17.0 years, range 12–50 years). All participants required treatment of the underlying hemoglobinopathy: 68.1% received hydroxyurea, 25.9% required regular blood transfusions, and 6.0% underwent hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Most patients (82/108, 75.9%) stated a considerable to strong desire for (future) parenthood, independent of sex, education, diagnosis, or subjective health status. Fertility counseling was only recalled by 32/111 patients (28.8%) and least frequently by younger patients (12–16 years) or those treated with regular blood transfusions or hydroxyurea. While fertility testing was documented for 59.5% (69/116) in medical records, only 11.6% (13/112) recalled previous assessments. FP was only used by 5.4% (6/111) of patients.ConclusionMost patients with hemoglobinopathies wish to have biological children, yet only few recalled fertility counseling and testing. Adequate patient counseling should be offered to all patients at risk for infertility.


  • Radauer‐Plank, Anne‐Catherine
  • Diesch‐Furlanetto, Tamara
  • Schneider, Monika
  • Sommerhäuser, Greta
  • Friedrich, Lucía Alácan
  • Salow, Vivienne
  • Dülberg, Jill
  • Diepold, Miriam
  • Rovó, Alicia
  • Njue, Linet Muthoni
  • Drexler, Beatrice
  • Infanti, Laura
  • Kroiss, Sabine
  • Merki, Ramona
  • Scheinemann, Katrin
  • Eisenreich, Bernhard
  • Hegemann, Inga
  • Mandic, Ljubica
  • Kager, Leo
  • Borgmann‐Staudt, Anja
  • Schilling, Ralph
  • Roll, Stephanie
  • Balcerek, Magdalena

publication date

  • July 2023