Freezing or storing sperm
Sometimes it is necessary to freeze or store sperm, when it is apparent that the male partner is unable to produce a sample on the day of treatment. This can happen if the man is ill, has extreme difficulty in producing a sample, or is likely to be out of the country at the time of treatment.
We also operate a storage facility for men with cancer who are to receive chemo- or radiotherapy, which may affect their future fertility.
It is also possible for men in the Services, who wish to do so, to freeze their sperm before being deployed overseas.
Pre-treatment and costs
You will need to make arrangements to store your sperm some time in advance of treatment. You will need an appointment in order for us to share information regarding storage, and for you to sign several consent forms before the sample is produced for freezing.
All screening tests for hepatitis and HIV must be complete with negative results, before storage can be undertaken (see information on screening).
The initial freezing of the samples and the first year of storage costs £350. If samples are being stored pre-vasectomy there is a £500 storage charge. After that you will be charged an annual storage fee (currently £230), to cover the costs of administration and maintaining storage.
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.
For sperm stored for use in treatment, the samples can be stored for up to 10 years, provided that you renew your consent to storage each year.
If the male partner dies or a couple divorces or separates, the fate of the frozen sperm will be dependent on consent given on the relevant HFEA forms. Additionally, the law now 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 using frozen sperm that takes place after his death, provided prior consent has been given on the appropriate form. You will be given a copy of your consent forms and it is a good idea to keep them in a safe place.
Sperm storage for Oncology patients
Some of the treatments involving chemotherapy or radiotherapy can affect a man’s future ability to father children. If you are about to undergo these treatments you may wish to consider storing samples of your sperm, which can be used at a later date if needed.
Please see our leaflet Sperm Freezing for further information.