Sperm freezing and storage is the procedure whereby sperm cells are frozen to preserve them for future use. Scientists freeze the sperm using a special media, then keep sperm in liquid nitrogen at minus 196C, which 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.
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, you will need to sign a consent form for the freezing and storage of sperm, which consent 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. The time interval before surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy will often 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 will explain whether you can do this and for how long you may be able to store your sperm. The amount of time in storage does not influence the success rate.
If you decide to freeze and store your sperm with City Fertility, you must update us about any address changes. You can provide written consent to discard your samples at any time.
Please inform your City Fertility 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 in storage and quality of sperm pre and post-freezing that is 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. Your embryologist will provide information to your doctor about post-thaw quality.
Yes, there may be a problem with the number and quality of 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 keep your sperm no longer cryopreserved:
Whatever option you decide on, signed consent forms are required. Please get in touch with the fertility coordinators to discuss these options.
The cost of sperm freezing is $660. City Fertility freezing fees include 6 months’ complimentary storage for sperm.
Ongoing storage costs can be paid monthly via direct debit ($37/month) or annually ($515). The storage fee applies regardless of the number of samples stored and is not refundable. Additional fees may apply if you require samples to be exported to another provider.
Please note the Australian Government is currently offering an Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Storage Funding Program, which assists patients who face extra costs for fertility treatment because of cancer or a genetic condition. This program aims to remove out-of-pocket costs for eligible cryostorage services for these patients. According to the program, the current funding amount is approximately $600 per year per type of material (eggs, sperm, or embryos), and patients can access funding for up to two types of material for up to 10 years.
To find out more about sperm freezing, please read our fact sheet: Sperm freezing.