Freezing sperm (cryopreservation) is a safe and effective way to preserve sperm. We will test your sperm to ensure they are healthy before they are frozen. Frozen sperm can survive for many years. Typically, about half of the sperm survive the freezing process. There is an annual cost to store sperm at our facility.
The sperm can be thawed and used with intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilization. Note that not all frozen sperm is usable for intrauterine insemination — some may only be used for in vitro. If you cannot produce sperm for freezing, you may consider freezing your testicular tissue for sperm retrieval.
There are several reasons you may consider freezing your sperm.
- A potentially life-threatening disease, such as cancer, where treatments for the disease may diminish fertility or the ability to ejaculate
- Surgery that reduces or stops normal sperm production or delivery, such as a prostatectomy, vasectomy or removal of one or both testicles
- Gender reassignment from male to female using hormones and/or surgery
- Military deployment
- Use in fertility treatments when you anticipate long or frequent absences
Sperm preservation techniques may be covered by health insurance. Ask your insurance company about coverage.
Collecting and Freezing Sperm Before Medical Treatment
Depending on when your treatment begins, you may be able to provide multiple samples of sperm for freezing. Even if you can only provide one sperm, you should do so. Advances in reproductive medicine techniques make it possible to achieve successful fertilization using a single sperm cell.
You may be possible to retrieve sperm after cancer treatment, but it is best to collect and freeze sperm before treatment. Depending on the treatment, it could take three to five years or longer for you to produce sperm again. In some cases, there may be no sperm production at all or there may be a reduction in sperm quality.
Additionally, the least expensive approach is to provide sperm through ejaculation for freezing. The cost to retrieve sperm surgically, before or after treatment, is higher.
Infectious Disease Testing
You will need to be tested for HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and syphilis before you store sperm at our facility. If you test positive, you will need to store your specimens at an outside location and you will be responsible for any transportation or storage costs.
If you haven't had sexual contact with the woman who is receiving your sperm, the FDA requires additional testing and screening for communicable diseases. Please discuss your situation with your provider to determine what's required. You are responsible for the cost of these additional tests. You have the option to freeze your sperm without additional testing — understand that, without the testing, your sperm may not be usable.
Testicular Tissue Freezing
If a man is unable to produce sperm, unable to ejaculate or has no sperm in his ejaculate, testicular tissue banking may help recover sperm for later fertility treatments.
Because sperm may still exist in the testes, small pieces of the testicular tissue are removed and frozen. This is done during an outpatient procedure.
When a man is ready, the tissue is thawed and the sperm retrieved. The sperm is then used to fertilize eggs by intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), an in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure in which a single sperm is injected directly into an egg to attempt fertilization. Each piece of testicular tissue can provide enough sperm for an IVF cycle.
In an abundance of caution, care and concern for our patients, staff and community, we are delaying fertility treatment starts until we have a greater sense of the degree of COVID-19 transmission in our region. We will closely follow ASRM and CDC recommendations as they become available.