Sperm Freezing

Also called “sperm cryopreservation, sperm storage or sperm banking”

What is sperm freezing?

Sperm freezing is a simple procedure to freeze sperm in our cryo-storage facility, to use in the future to try and achieve a pregnancy. Sperm can be frozen from one or more ejaculates produced in the clinic. In rarer cases sperm can also be frozen after a surgical procedure to find sperm directly in the testicles (a surgical sperm retrieval).

Sperm freezing has been undertaken in fertility centres worldwide for the last 40 years cells and is not known to cause any abnormalities in children that were born from the frozen sperm. Frozen sperm can be used to achieve a pregnancy with either insemination treatment or IVF treatment.

Who might need sperm freezing?

Sperm freezing is a common treatment  and is used by many men, for example men who;

  • are going to be out of the country when their partner will require their sperm for fertility treatment
  • have very low sperm counts and may have no sperm on some days and who have been advised to store a frozen sample, as a back-up, prior to undergoing fertility treatment
  • have no sperm on ejaculating and are undergoing a surgical sperm retrieval procedure in the clinic
  • are about to undergo a medical treatment that may result in them being infertile afterwards i.e. cancer treatment such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy (see information sheet LC126 Sperm freezing for cancer patients)
  • are donating sperm for another couple to use to achieve a pregnancy (see information sheet LC84 Treatment using donor sperm)
What is involved in sperm freezing?

STEP ONE – Sperm test and Blood Test.  All the patients undergoing sperm freezing in our clinic should have already been seen by the doctor and have already had at least one sperm test in our clinic. If you have not already done a sperm test, you will need to do one to see if there is enough sperm in the ejaculate to freeze. 

Our clinic also adheres to international standards and therefore all patients freezing sperm must be negative for the following infectious diseases;  HIV, Hepatitis B, hepatitis C and Syphilis. Blood tests are compulsory to check you for these infectious diseases.

STEP TWO – Doctors appointment.  The doctor will review your situation in detail and go through the options you have.  (Clinic patients will have completed this step already.) You must also complete a consent form before the clinic can freeze your sperm.  This consent form tells us your wishes about your sperm;

  • how long you want to store your sperm (the standard storage period is 10 years)
  • If  you should you become unable to make decisions for yourself or die 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 
    • 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.

STEP THREE – 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(s) at the clinic. The procedure to produce a sample is the same as the procedure for normal sperm tests.


  • one appointment for a sperm freeze includes the cost of ONE sample and the freezing process. (cost TT$2440)
  • If you have a very low sperm count you may be asked to produce more than one ejaculate - this is  called a MERC.  If this is required each additional ejaculate will cost $300.00 i.e. for two ejaculates in one day $2740 or three ejaculates in one day $3040. Up to a total of three samples can be produced in one day.
  • If more samples are required for freezing on another day then another sperm freezing fee (TT$2440) and any MERC fee(s) will need to be paid.

STEP FOUR– Freezing. Once you have produced your sample the laboratory will analyse and freeze the sample and place it in our secure cryo-storage facility. Storage fees will need to be paid every year for your sperm sample(s) to remain in storage in the cryo-storage facility. An intial 3 months storage is included in the cost of the sperm freeze, but if you have not used your sperm after 3 months you will be required to pay the yearly storage fee (TT$2500). 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. 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. PLEASE NOTE sperm storage fees will increase periodically due to the increase in equipment and material costs.

STEP FIVE– Your wishes. Once your sperm is frozen and safely stored with us it is easy to forget about. Please don’t forget about it! It is very important that you let us know of any change of address so that we can always contact you and keep your sperm stored safely. If you move address and change your phone and email without informing us so that we cannot contact you, then you risk your sperm sample being labelled as abandoned and this risks the sample being removed from storage.

What are the risks of sperm freezing?

Worldwide, data shows that babies born from frozen sperm have no increase in abnormalities or birth defects.

Will your sperm be safe?

Whilst we take great care to store your 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.

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, email or phone number. If the clinic is unable to easily contact you, this is considered abandonment of your sperm and your case will be forwarded to the Internal Ethics Committee for review and possible disposal. 

Where can I get more information?

www.andrologyaustralia.org This is an Australian organsiation which deals with all male reproductive issues. www.hfea.gov.uk This UK government website has the latest and best advice on all fertility treatment including sperm freezing.