Sexual Functioning in Long-Term Survivors of Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation

Karen L. Syrjala, Hélène Schoemans, Jean C. Yi, Shelby L. Langer, Ahona Mukherjee, Lynn Onstad, Stephanie J. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


This investigation characterized sexual activity and sexual function in hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) survivors, compared them with norms, and examined factors associated with sexual dysfunction, with the goal of identifying targets for intervention to improve sexual health. Surviving adults from a large transplantation center were asked to complete an annual survey with a core of health questions and a module on sexual activity and function. Participants completed the Sexual Function Questionnaire, Cancer and Treatment Distress form, and Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale. Clinical data were collected from the transplantation medical database. Multivariate logistic regressions identified factors associated with sexual activity and function. Participating survivors (n = 1742) were a mean of 11.9 years (range,.4 to 43.1 years) after HCT, mean age 57.6 years, and 53% male. Women were more likely than men to report being sexually inactive in the past year (39% versus 27%) and, among those sexually active, to report low sexual function (64% versus 32%). Male and female survivors reported lower rates of sexual activity and function than comparison norms (all P <.01). In regressions, factors associated with being sexually inactive included older age, having <4 years of college education, low performance status, and not being in a committed relationship. Additional factors for men included receipt of nonmyeloablative conditioning and not being employed or in school. Low sexual functioning for men and women was associated with low performance status, and, for women, a committed relationship of lower quality, while for men the association was with older age. Sexual dysfunction is common in both men and women after HCT, regardless of time since treatment. Survivors need routine evaluation and access to multimodal interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80.e1-80.e12
JournalTransplantation and Cellular Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
  • Sexual functioning
  • Survivorship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Hematology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Sexual Functioning in Long-Term Survivors of Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this