Men can store their sperm for future use for various reasons:
- A man may be unable to produce a sample on the day of fertility treatment – this can happen if he is ill, has extreme difficulty in producing a sample, or is likely to be out of the country at the time of treatment
- Oncology patients may wish to store their sperm as some cancer treatments can affect their future fertility
- Men in the armed services may decide to freeze their sperm before being deployed overseas
Arrangements for sperm storage must be made in advance of treatment. All screening tests for hepatitis and HIV must be complete with negative results and you will need to sign several consent forms before the sample is produced for freezing.
There is a small private room available where you are asked to provide your sample. This should be produced directly into the container provided. You should refrain from sexual activity for a couple of days before as this may affect the quality of the sample.
The sperm sample will be frozen and a small portion thawed as a test to check survival; usually about half the sperm will survive. Depending on the quality of the sample frozen and the results of the test-thaw it may be necessary to provide further samples. Laboratory staff will arrange this with you.
The samples can be stored for up to 10 years, provided that you renew your consent to storage when we contact you each year. Under some circumstances (e.g. certain medical conditions) it may be possible to extend storage further.
If the male partner dies or a couple divorces or separates, the fate of the frozen sperm will depend on consent given on the relevant HFEA forms.
The law allows for the man’s particulars to be entered on the birth register for a child who is born as a result of fertility treatment that takes place after his death, provided prior consent has been given on the appropriate form.
Free counselling is available to anyone considering sperm storage. This gives you the opportunity to discuss with an independent person your concerns regarding the storage of your sperm and its future use, including the implications for your future fertility. Support can be offered to both you and when appropriate your partner. If you would like to book an appointment with one of our Counsellors, please call us on 01761 434464 or fill out the form below and we will get back to you shortly.