Sperm Freezing and Storage
This is the process of freezing and storing semen samples so you and your partner may use them to become pregnant in the future. Whether you have just discovered that you have a fertility problem or have been struggling for years, Medfem Fertility Clinic offers you a unique blend of patient-centred care and state-of-the-art reproductive technology. Once you decide to thaw and use your frozen sperm samples, one of our specialists will carefully assess you and your partner’s condition and develop a personalised treatment plan designed to give you the best chance of conceiving.
Why would I want to freeze my sperm?
There are many situations that could interfere with your future fertility. For these reasons and others, many men decide to freeze sperm as a safeguard against unforeseen future circumstances.
These may include:
- Radiation therapy
- Certain types of pelvic or testicular surgery
- Illnesses (such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis) that may cause erectile difficulty
- Spinal cord disease or injury
- High risk occupations or sports
- Preparation for a future fertility treatment
How do I arrange to freeze sperm?
You can arrange to freeze sperm by calling Medfem to book an appointment. Prior to this appointment, you will be asked to have a blood test for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV. These infections may be transmitted through the semen to a female partner or an unborn child.
You will then be directed to a private room to produce a semen specimen. You will give your specimen to one of our laboratory technicians who will then analyse the sperm, freeze it, and store it for future use. We would prefer that you collect the specimen on-site in one of our private collection rooms. However, you may also collect the specimen at home if it can be in our laboratory within 30 minutes after it is produced.
Multiple donations over a period of time are usually recommended, but even one sperm sample may be enough for conception. Everyone’s situation is unique; however, most men freeze between two and five samples. In many cases, the time interval prior to surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation treatment will be the deciding factor for how many samples can be collected for freezing.
We recommend that you abstain from sexual intercourse and ejaculation for two days before the first sample and for about two days between samples. If you are unable to donate through sexual stimulation, sperm cells can be obtained through minor surgery or electrical stimulation.
How long can sperm stay frozen?
Sperm can be frozen indefinitely. We will continue to store the sperm for as long as the annual storage fee is paid. However, you must keep us updated regarding any address changes. If we can’t reach you to collect the storage fee and to confirm that you want to maintain the frozen samples, we will thaw and destroy them.
How successful is sperm freezing?
The success rates of using stored sperm vary and depend on several factors. First, your health or underlying illness may affect the quality of the sperm at the time they are frozen. Second, approximately 60% of the sperm frozen will survive the freezing and thawing process. Third, the success rates will depend on your female partner’s age, fertility status, and the method of assisted reproduction that is used. If the sperm quality is low, a pregnancy can still be achieved but may require a more complex form of treatment, such as ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection).
How do I use the sperm in the future?
Once the sperm is thawed, it can be put in your partner’s uterus in a process called intrauterine insemination (IUI). If the sperm is not of sufficient quality or quantity, in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) may be required. This involves stimulating your partner’s ovaries, then retrieving several eggs which are each injected with a single sperm in our lab. The resulting embryos are then replaced back in your partner’s uterus.
The success of IVF and ICSI can be as high as 40% to 60% per cycle, depending on the age and fertility status of your partner.
Who can I talk to?
One of the nurses or physicians at Medfem Fertility Clinic would be happy to discuss sperm banking and the report of your sperm analysis with you. A copy of the report will also be sent to your referring physician.