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Male preemies in the NICU and lots of X-rays

Posted by on Sep. 22, 2012 at 12:03 PM
  • 16 Replies
I've been thinking about this for years, almost 9 to be exact! And thought I would come here to see if anyone else has experienced this or dealt with it as their sons age. My boys were born at 28 weeks and spent over 8 weeks in the NICU. They battled SOOOO much during that time! They have come thru that experince amazingly but there is one concern that has lingered for me. Their fertility. What has me concerned is that during their bout with necrotizing enterocolitus (NEC--a deadly infection in the intestines) they had sometimes hourly X-rays of their GI track, which is so close to their reproductive track. I know on one occasion while I was there the techs were performing an X-ray and even tho I reminded them, they did not use a lead shield over one of my sons genitals. This has haunted me. I know if they didn't use it after I reminded them, there were probably countless times when i wasnt there that their testicles were exposed to radiation. I'm concerned about them being sterile. And wondering if anyone on here with older sons (former NICU babies) or sons with similar amounts of xrays has dealt with this. My husband and I have talked about it but can't agree on how to handle this. Do we tell them young enough that it isn't a shock to them later, like say 16. Do we have them get checked for live sperm at or around puberty. Thats gonna be weird! Do we let them find out on their own when they start trying for a family? The later just doesn't feel right to me. Thank you all in advance for any insight you may offer me!
by on Sep. 22, 2012 at 12:03 PM
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by Bronze Member on Sep. 22, 2012 at 12:24 PM
My son was a preemie too, 33w, but only stayed a week in NICU. But he has had countless xrays, this year alone I'm sure we are upwards of around 50+. Dh and I struggle with infertility as it is so we worry about that with our son anyway, but I have been worried more lately about xrays and his fertility. I don't have an answer for you. I plan on discussing this with his Drs.
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by on Sep. 22, 2012 at 8:36 PM

I don't have an answer of any validity, but my son was a preemie, and he also had x-rays when he hit teenagerhood for back problems. The x-rays went from hip to shoulder.  I asked about the x-rays on his back, being concerned not so much about fertility as about mutations of his future children, and I was assured that the area was well above the testicles, and I wonder if the x-rays that the babies get also avoid the testicle area. Ask a radiologist, perhaps. Good luck!

by on Sep. 22, 2012 at 9:11 PM
Idk Mama. Maybe ask their Dr about it before saying anything to them?
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by Sonja on Sep. 23, 2012 at 12:11 PM

I would probably discuss it with the doctor, but if you are concerned, then explain it to them and have them tested, or even have them tested to see if there is anything to worry about before you sit down and have the conversation.  I agree with not waiting until they are ready to have kids.  I know you can't have any tests done till they are older, but they need to know if there are problems and be able to discuss that with their future wives before getting married.  

by on Sep. 23, 2012 at 12:32 PM

I have no idea.  I agree, talk to their doctor(s) to get any feedback before deciding how to proceed.  It may all be a moot point!

by on Sep. 23, 2012 at 1:53 PM

i would probably bring it up with the doctor first. and I would also let them know when they are older, before they are trying for kids.

by on Sep. 23, 2012 at 2:35 PM

I think I would bring it up with their doctor first to see what they say(maybe that is too young to have an effect on something that happens so much later or something).  Good luck.

by on Sep. 23, 2012 at 2:58 PM

 Tricky don't really want to give them the impression that they are or even 'could' be infertile because they may use that as a reason to not practice safe sex and inadvertantly get a girl pregnant, but it's also something that they need to know before planning a future with a young woman. 

I don't have an answer, start with their doctors and see what the level of concern should be and see what they would advise you to do.

by on Sep. 24, 2012 at 8:12 AM

I'm actually in a similar situation, though we're worried about my oldest ds' fertility due to chemo and bone marrow transplant, as well as countless xrays.  We have not yet made a decision about when to tell him, we are so up in the air about it.  If we tell him now, will that make him think he can just have unprotected sex because he thinks he can't get anyone pregnant?  Do we wait until he's older, and risk it being a huge shock?   

He's 7 now, and talking about when he's a dad, so we've started talking about other ways to become a dad (adoption mostly since his uncle was adopted).  I figure next time we see his oncologist, we'll talk about when and how to talk to him.  Right now, I'm leaning towards telling him when we have 'the talk' and reminding him that though he may not get someone pregnant, he can still get some nasty diseases if he's careless about protection. 

by on Sep. 24, 2012 at 9:08 AM

I would tell them as a teen so if they want, they can be checked.

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