Sperm can be preserved by freezing and used for treatment at a later time. There are various reasons why you may feel you need to freeze your sperm, for instance:
- If you are about to undergo treatment such as chemotherapy which may result in infertility.
- If you are planning to have a vasectomy.
How is sperm frozen?
The sperm is analysed, divided into smaller batches and then transferred into vials. The sperm is combined with a cryoprotectant fluid and frozen in liquid nitrogen.
How long can sperm be frozen?
As long as freezing conditions remain at a constant temperature, sperm can survive the freezing process indefinitely. Those sperm that die, do so within the first 48 hours of freezing and the attrition rate is thereafter very slight.
Anyone wishing to freeze his sperm must be tested for HIV, Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B.
The storage of sperm is regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. The law requires that you consent to the storage of your sperm and its future use. Sperm, once frozen, can only be used for the purposes given in the consent form. The consent can be changed or withdrawn at any point in time by the man.
A free and confidential counselling service is available to patients who are considering sperm freezing.