Skip to main content

Sperm freezing

Sperm freezing is available if you are undergoing various medical procedures or treatments.

Sperm freezing procedure with a sample being placed into a liquid nitrogen vessel
Sperm storage involves freezing sperm and storing them in liquid nitrogen vessels at -198oC.  Sperm freezing is available for those people who are having sperm removed surgically from the testis, for people who may feel that there will be problems providing a sample on the day of treatment, for patients requiring chemotherapy who may wish to freeze sperm beforehand and for patients that are intending on having a vasectomy and wish to store samples of sperm frozen prior to this procedure.

Following a referral for sperm storage from your consultant, an appointment will be made to see one of the Embryologists / Andrologist for a counselling appointment.

This appointment with the Andrologist / Embryologist is about an hour long during which the procedure for freezing and storage of sperm as well as the legal implication of storage will be explained. You will then be required to complete some consent forms that are a legal requirement for storage provided by our governing body (HFEA). Consent to storage is initially up to ten years. This can be extended in blocks of up to 10 years to a maximum of 55 years providing you complete a new consent form to extend your consent before your consent expires. We will send new consent forms to you just prior to 12 months before the expiry date of your consent. When considering how long to consent for, please be aware that if you wish to store your sperm for a period less than 10 years, we will contact you to ask if you wish to consent to store for an additional period before the 10 year ‘renewal period’ commences. If you do not extent your consent within the limits of your consent period, your sperm will be removed from storage and be allowed to perish when your consent to storage expires. Consent periods are independent of payments or storage fees charged to continue to store your sperm.

Following your appointment blood tests is for HIV, Hepatitis B core antibody, Hepatitis B surface antigen and Hepatitis C are required. It has been experimentally demonstrated that cross-contamination can occur between liquid nitrogen in which sperm is stored and sperm when infectious agents such as viruses are present in the liquid nitrogen. We therefore need to know that you do not have these viruses before your sperm can be placed within a virus negative storage tank. Once your blood test results are back and providing they are satisfactory, we will be in a position to start banking your sperm or referral back to your Consultant to book a surgical sperm retrieval.

To obtain an optimum sample you are advised to abstain from any form of sexual activity (masturbation or intercourse) for 2 - 3 days, but not longer than 7 days prior to your appointment.

You will be shown to a private room and asked to produce your sample. The sample will be examined to assess suitability for freezing and storage. The sample will be mixed with a cryopreservative to protect the sample. It will then be split and stored in small amps which will be split between two storage tanks.

We try our utmost to ensure that the maximum number of sperm survive the freezing, storing and thawing process. However, sperm survival cannot be guaranteed. As part of the freezing process more than 50% of the sperm can become damaged. Fortunately advances in fertility treatment mean that a pregnancy may be achieved even if you have very few sperm. It is important to stress that a pregnancy cannot be guaranteed from the use of cryopreserved sperm and it is likely that the female partner may require some form of assisted conception treatment in order to maximise the chance of pregnancy.

Sperm samples are stored in liquid nitrogen dewars. The dewars are connected to an alarm system which will notify us of a problem with the level of liquid present in the dewar, however there is a remote possibility of the loss of stored material due to unexpected mechanical breakdowns, or due to incidents beyond our control. It is also possible that there may be a small risk of cross contamination from other samples in the storage dewar due to unknown pathogens or viruses.

Please consult the website costings page or current costed treatment plan for initial freezing and storage costs. On-going storage costs will be billed yearly on the anniversary of freezing and may be subject to change.

Yes, you can change your consent at any point. You can vary, extend or withdrawn your consent to storage in writing at any point in the storage period.

When you want to use your sperm please make contact with either your Consultant or The Fertility Centre directly.  If you no longer require storage contact the clinic to request a Withdrawal of Consent form. This must be completed correctly before your sperm can be removed from storage and any charge for continued storage removed.

You can consent to the posthumous use of your sperm in the event of your death. If you consent to this sperm can legally be stored for up to a maximum of 10 years from the date of death. This period CANNOT be extended. Men can consent to being posthumously registered as the father of any child in the UK. If you become incapacitated you can consent to the storage and use of a maximum of 10 years, this period CANNOT be extended unless you regain mental capacity in the opinion of a medical practitioner.

In both cases if you consent to a period of time shorter than 10 years this will be the maximum time your samples can remain in storage and your partner will not be able to benefit from the full amount of time (10 years) permitted in law. If your partner is not named on your consent form(s) they cannot legally use your sperm even if you have provided legal consent to posthumous use. If your relationship status changes it is important that you contact as soon as possible as you may wish to vary your consent particularly if you have a new partner and wish them to use your sperm in the event of your death or if you become mentally incapacitated. If sperm in storage are used to create embryos after your death or loss of capacity, those sperm can only be stored and used for 10 years from the date of the certification of the sperm provider’s death or loss of capacity, not from the date of first storage of the embryos.

Once your sperm has been placed in storage, it is your responsibility to notify the centre of any changes to your address or changes of circumstance. Contact the centre immediately to enable us to continue to communicate with you about your sperm.

If in the future you do not wish to keep your sperm for your own treatment, you have the option to donate it for training or research. Further information about each of these options will be provided when appropriate. If you give consent for storage for use in training after completing your own treatment then it is possible that sperm may be used in training even after your death or mental incapacity as we are unlikely to know that you have died or lost mental capacity, particularly if you are no longer having treatment and would not be in contact with the centre. If you do not wish for this to happen, you should not give consent to storage for use in training.

Your Consultant will be happy to discuss with you the implications of storing your sperm. If you have any questions or require any further information, please contact The Fertility Centre.

Specialists offering Sperm freezing

View all specialists

{{ error }}

Find a specialist