Sperm can be frozen for future use either in artificial insemination or other fertility treatments, or be donated.
Donated sperm has to be stored for six months before it can be used in treatment, in order to screen the donor for infections.
Sperm cells have been frozen and thawed successfully for more than 40 years.
Is sperm freezing and storage for me?
By storing the sperm, men may be able to use them for treatment in the future in the following cases
Men undergoing medical treatment that may affect fertility, for example, some forms of cancer treatment
Men having a low sperm count or are producing sperm that are deteriorating in quality over time
Men having difficulty in producing a sample on the day of fertility treatment
What happens when sperm are frozen?
Step 1. Men will be screened for infectious diseases, including HIV and Hepatitis B and C.
Step 2. Men need to give written consent for sperm to be stored.
Step 3. At the clinic, men produce a fresh sample of sperm.
Step 4. The sperm are frozen and then stored in a storage tank containing liquid nitrogen.
What happens when sperm are stored?
Men should understand the limits on the storage time and keep in contact with the clinic.
The standard storage period for sperm is normally 10 years. Clinician will be able to explain, and how long can be stored.
Men must let the clinic know if he changes the address. This is so that they will be able to contact him when the storage period is coming to an end. If they cannot contact the him when the storage period ends, they may take sperm out of storage and allow them to perish.
Some sperm do not survive or are damaged during freezing. This means that after freezing there may be a reduction in quality. Some frozen sperm samples that are of poor quality can only be used for Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
Success rates are averaged over DI cycles and all IVF cycles using donor sperm. For each treatment cycle, the success rate varies depending on the age of the woman. If the woman:
What are the risks of freezing and storing sperm?
We are not aware of any risks to patients or children from using frozen sperm.