This is also called “sperm cryopreservation or sperm storage or sperm banking”.
What is sperm freezing?
Sperm freezing is the process where sperm cells, either from an ejaculate or tissue obtained from the testes, can be frozen for future use either in artificial insemination or other fertility treatments.
Sperm cells have been frozen and thawed successfully for more than 40 years, however international law dictates sperm can only be stored up to 10 years, and only under exceptional circumstances would sperm be allowed to be stored longer than 10 years.
Who might need sperm freezing?
This type of service is offered to patients who are about to undergo a medical treatment that may result in them being infertile afterwards i.e. Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy or some surgeries.
Unfortunately chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery affect fertility at least on a temporary basis, but can do so for many years and even permanently. Sperm and testicular tissue banking can enable boys/men who may not have completed (or even started) their families to achieve pregnancies after treatment.
Please note: The storage process must take place BEFORE any treatment starts.
What is involved in sperm freezing?
– Sperm and Blood Test. A sperm test will need to done to see if there is enough sperm in the ejaculate to freeze. International laws state that no infectious sperm samples are to be stored, so some blood will also need to be taken to check for any infectious disease such as HIV, Hepatitis B or C and Syphilis (VDRL).
– Doctors appointment. The doctor will review your situation in detail and go through the options you have. Sperm samples have different treatment options for everyone and it is important that you understand what freezing and future treatment options are available to you. You will also be asked to complete a consent form to enable the clinic to freeze your sperm.
– Production Appointments. Depending on your situation, a plan for the number of samples to be frozen will be made and appointments set up for you to produce your sample at the clinic.
– Freezing. Once you have produced your sample the laboratory will analyse and freeze the sample and place it in a storage tank of liquid nitrogen.
How much does sperm freezing cost?
There are several costs to consider.
- The initial cost to see the doctor and have the necessary investigations (Currently $1,270.00 TTD)
- There is a special “Sperm Freezing Prior to Radio or Chemo Therapy and Surgery” package, which will enable you to store your samples over a period of 14 days and keep them in storage for 12 months ($5,000.00 TTD)
- Each year an annual storage fees for your frozen sperm will need to be paid. This fee covers the liquid nitrogen costs, storage administration and continuous monitoring to help keep your sperm safe (Currently $2,000.00 TTD)
- The type of treatment options available in future. (These costs are different for everyone and we can advise you of the likely costs at the present time in the clinic, after your assessments.)
How much control do I have over what happens to my sperm?
When you first freeze your sperm, the clinic will ask you to fill out consent forms. The forms allow you to specify:
- what will happen to your sperm should you become unable to make decisions for yourself or die
- how long you want to store your sperm (the standard storage period is 10 years)
- whether your partner (if you have one) can use the sperm later to create a family and whether you wish to be recorded as the father of any child born as a result of fertility treatment after your death
- whether your sperm can be used in research or donated for use in someone else’s treatment
- Or any other conditions you may have for the use of your sperm.
You can vary or withdraw your consent at any time, either before treatment or before the sperm are used.
What are the risks of sperm freezing?
Worldwide, data shows that babies born from frozen sperm cells have no increase in abnormalities or birth defects.
Will your sperm be safe?
Whilst we take care to store sperm under ideal and safe conditions via a continuous monitoring system, circumstances, such as Natural Disasters and other “Acts of God” could affect the safe keeping of your sperm. If your sperm are compromised by any such incident you will be immediately informed.
Will there be any follow up by clinic staff?
We understand that this can be a difficult and emotional time for you. Should you wish to access any supportive counselling regarding this treatment please contact our reception staff at either office to make an appointment.
The clinic will write to you annually to check that you are well and find out if you wish to keep the sperm in storage. The sperm is subject to an annual storage fee, currently $2,000.00 TTD but this could increase over time, for the upkeep of the sperm storage solution (liquid nitrogen) and for safe monitoring.
On-going contact with the clinic is encouraged. It is THE PATIENTS responsibility to contact the clinic if ANY contact details have changed i.e. change of address or phone number. If the clinic is unable to easily contact you, this is considered abandonment and your case will be forwarded to the Internal Ethics Committee for review and possible disposal.
Where can I get more information?
Andrologyaustralia.org is an Australian organsiation which deals with all male reproductive issues. HFEA is UK government website has the latest and best advice on all fertility treatment including sperm freezing.