Sperm freezing & sperm storage
Sperm freezing allows men to preserve their fertility until you are ready to start or grow your family. Here we detail the reasons and process and why you would consider freezing your sperm.
At Care Fertility we offer sperm freezing. Sperm freezing and sperm storage is a simple way of preserving your sperm until you wish to start a family. Freezing sperm allows men to save their sperm if they need to delay conception. For example if they are undergoing a medical procedure that may affect their fertility.
You should freeze your sperm to conserve it in case of infertility or if you want to donate to someone else. Here are some of the most common reasons why people freeze their sperm:
- You are about to undergo vasectomy.
- Before medical treatments such as chemotherapy which may affect fertility and sperm quality. Men choose to freeze their sperm prior to starting treatment.
- You are a sperm donor.
- You have a medical condition that may result in infertility later in life.
- If you have difficulty producing a sample of the day of treatment, and you and your partner are undergoing IVF.
- You have a low sperm count, and you may or may not be undergoing ICSI treatment.
- During a surgical sperm recovery. If you are having a recovery treatment, we will aim to freeze some sperm for you.
- You are working or travelling abroad and or might be at risk of contracting an infection that could affect your sperm.
The Process of Sperm Freezing
Before your sperm is frozen, you must complete statutory consent forms which cover the following:
- How long your sperm can be stored for.
- What should happen to your sperm if something were to happen to you.
- Whether sperm will be used for your own treatment or for someone else’s e.g. if donating.
- Any other conditions for the use of your sperm.
Generally, we will freeze sperm that you have provided us with in a semen sample, but we can also collect it surgically if required. Before you begin the procedure, it will be explained in more detail by your medical specialist.
- You will be screened for infectious diseases including HIV, HLTV and Hepatitis B/C.
- You need to provide written consent for your sperm to be stored.
- You produce the sperm sample at the clinic.
- Your sperm is frozen and stored in liquid nitrogen in small batches, using a special solution that will protect it during the transfer to storage.
How successful is sperm freezing?
Fertility treatments using frozen sperm are just as successful as those using fresh sperm. Our success rates are consistently high - Care Fertility are highly experienced in the vitrification freezing process.
What are the risks of sperm freezing?
There are no risks associated with the process of collecting sperm, as it is a non-invasive procedure. There are no risks to recipients of embryos created with frozen sperm, or to babies crated from those embryos.
To assess sperm quality after freezing, we may thaw a small sample after a freeze to check on the quality of frozen sperm. This 'trial thaw' enables us to assess survival and provide advice on the best treatment using the sperm. Depending on the sperm quality, our recommendation may be to store a number of samples over a period of time to assure we have adequate samples for potential future use.
How long can sperm be stored for?
You can store your sperm for up to 55 years if you renew your consent to storage every 10 years. The HFEA regulates storage and dictates that you consent to the storage of your sperm and its future use, so your consent can be changed or withdrawn whenever you like.
What happens if I don't use my frozen sperm?
If you do not use all of your frozen sperm, you may discard or donate it.
At Care, if you no longer wish to have treatment but still have sperm in storage, there are a few options you may wish to consider:
- Discarding your sperm– involves removal of sperm from storage and allowing it to perish.
- Donation for training purposes - Care occasionally needs to use sperm samples for in-house training purposes, for example when introducing new procedures or when training new staff in the standard practices we use. Any training records would be reversibly anonymised by using only your clinic ID number.
- Donation to research – if your clinic participates in research they can provide details of the research projects involved.