Sperm freezing and storage is the procedure whereby sperm cells are frozen to preserve them for future use. Sperm cells have been frozen and thawed successfully for more than 40 years. By using special technology and then keeping sperm in liquid nitrogen at minus 196C, it can be stored for many years while maintaining a reasonable quality.
Unfortunately, life is unpredictable. There are many situations that could interfere with your future fertility. These may include:
Please ask your GP or specialist for a referral form to see one of our specialists at City Fertility Centre.
It is preferable if, before your first appointment, blood tests for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV are arranged. We routinely screen for these infections because they may be transmitted through the semen, and to minimise the risk of contamination during storage.
Once you receive your blood test results, please contact us to arrange, to book a time, to produce the sample at our clinic. At this time you will need to sign consent forms for the freezing and storage of sperm, which lasts for up to 10 years at a time.
Everyone’s situation is different. Most men freeze between two and five samples. Some choose to freeze many more. Often, the time interval before surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy will be the deciding factor.
We recommend abstaining from intercourse and ejaculation for at least two days but not longer than five days before the first sample, and for about two days between the samples.
Scientifically, there is no limit to the length of time that sperm can be stored in a frozen state. However, the standard storage period for sperm is 10 years. This term can be exceeded only in certain circumstances. City Fertility Centre will explain whether you can do this, and for how long you may be able to store your sperm.
Damage can occur to the sperm during freezing and thawing, not while it is frozen. The amount of time in storage does not influence the success rate.
If you decide to freeze and store your sperm with City Fertility Centre, you must update us about any address changes.
Please inform your City Fertility Centre specialist that you wish to utilise your frozen sperm sample.
There are several treatment options available for you and your partner to achieve a pregnancy. The type of treatment recommended can vary depending on the number and quality of sperm available. As part of this process, your partner may also require some basic fertility investigations.
Frozen sperm can be used for Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI) if its post-thaw quality is good enough. If the sperm quality is reduced due to illness or other factors, it might be necessary to undertake In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) and Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), a specialised form of IVF whereby individual sperm are injected directly into the eggs.
Yes, there may be a problem with the number and quality of the sperm, especially in men who are about to undergo cancer treatment. Their underlying illness may have caused a reduction in the sperm count or in their motility (movement). In such situations, it may be advisable to freeze even more specimens if time and treatment permit.
Research has shown no difference in the rates of abnormalities or birth defects among children conceived with fresh versus frozen sperm. However, there are some theoretical concerns that chemotherapy drugs may have unknown effects on the sperm or the offspring. If possible, it is best to freeze the specimens before chemotherapy begins.
The following options are available if you decide to no longer keep your sperm cryopreserved:
Whatever option you decide on, signed consent forms are required. Please contact the fertility coordinators to discuss these options.
There is a fee for freezing each semen sample.
City Fertility Centre freezing fees include 12 months’ complimentary storage for sperm, eggs and embryos.
We also offer reduced sperm-freezing fees for oncology patients.
After the initial twelve months, costs apply for storing one or more samples at City Fertility Centre. This annual storage fee applies regardless of the number of samples stored and is not refundable.
To find out more about sperm freezing, please read our Sperm Freezing Fact Sheet.