You and your partner may wish to store sperms in the laboratory if your partner cannot be present for some reason during your treatment cycle, if he has had difficulty in producing semen previously or if previous tests have confirmed that there have been problems with semen analysis or production. A single man may also wish to store his semen for future use under reasonable circumstances.
You and your partner may use your sperm at any time, either here or at any other licensed clinic. The children resulting from such use will be your legal children. There is a separate information sheet available for you relating to the legal situation should a child be conceived from the posthumous use of your sperm (that is after you have deceased).
What is sperm storage?
Sperm storage (or sperm freezing as it is also called) is the process of freezing a man’s sperm to ensure that his fertility is preserved for future use.
Generally speaking, men will utilise clinics for sperm storage for a whole multitude of reasons which we will get into below, but the primary message here is that this fertility preservation method is both entirely safe and very, very much effective.
How does sperm storage work?
At a glance, the male supplier will have to provide written, informed consent as to how the sperm is going to be stored and how long he will want it to be stored for. At the clinic, he will be asked to produce a fresh sample (if able), which will then be mixed with a cryoprotectant to prevent damage during the freezing process and finally frozen.
For ease of access, the sperm sample is often divided between a number of containers to allow for multiple treatments.
From here, it’s pretty much up to him. Sperm can then be thawed out for IVF or other fertilisation methods or simply stored until the opportune moment (at a maximum of 10 years).
Is sperm storage for me?
You might want to consider sperm storage if you are suffering from a medical condition or are facing some form of medical treatment that could harm your fertility in the long run.
One common example of this might be if you are about to undergo a vasectomy, but want to still preserve your sperm for potential future use.
Another example might be if your sperm quality is in decline – a process that’s quite normal with age – or if you struggle to produce a sample on the day of a fertility treatment.
Similarly, if you’re trying for IVF, having sperm stored works to drastically simplify the process – allowing you to provide your sperm well in advance whilst keeping it quickly at hand.
What are the success rates of sperm storage?
According to a study published in PLOS ONE in 2013, frozen sperm is as good as fresh sperm when it comes to IVF treatment, with cryopreservation not reducing the chances of a successful pregnancy at all.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that success is assured, however, but if repeated attempts still fail to lead to pregnancy, other options such as donor sperm or adoption are available.