• Everything You Need to Know About Freezing your Sperm

    Why do men freeze their sperm? There are, of course, sperm banks where men can donate sperm to childless couples. This sperm is frozen and kept until it’s needed, but that’s certainly not the only reason for freezing sperm. Men who have been diagnosed with cancer may bank their sperm if their treatment plan is likely to cause infertility. Similarly, men who are undergoing surgery or treatment that could impact their chances of conceiving a child might want to freeze their sperm, and so might men with hazardous jobs. Most commonly, though, couples decide to freeze sperm- and eggs- because they want to wait a little while to grow their families. If you fall into any of these categories, and are considering freezing your sperm, here’s what you need to know.

    • Sperm-freezing, also known as semen cryopreservation, is simpler and less invasive than freezing eggs. In fact, while most samples are collected at the fertility clinic, there are home kits available for men who don’t feel comfortable in a clinical setting. Men with low sperm counts are encouraged to freeze a sample ahead of IVF, in case their fresh sample does not contain sperm when it’s time to perform the procedure.
    • The cost of freezing sperm varies and is dependent on several different factors. The price includes the entire process, from collection through storage, and varies based on location, individual clinic, and insurance. Typically, it costs anywhere from $250 to $1,000. However, if you intend to store your sample for a long time, the storage costs can really add up. Then, too, there are medical shipping costs to move the sperm from the place where they’re stored to the place where they’ll be used. It’s smart to have a plan in place before you get started, and work with a fertility clinic.
    • Some men are better candidates for sperm freezing than others. Healthy people can bank sperm. In fact, even children who have been diagnosed with cancer can bank sperm, for the sake of future fertility. Men who are undergoing chemotherapy should not bank their sperm, and men who have no sperm in their semen won’t be able to, either.
    • A doctor has to make the request to bank your sperm. The choice to freeze sperm is a personal one, and one you’ll need to discuss with your doctor. Testing will be required, to screen for sexually transmitted diseases as well as assessing the sperm quality.
    • Sperm freezing is low risk. There are no risks to the men themselves, but there is a risk that when the sample is frozen, it may not actually contain sperm. Freezing doesn’t damage sperm, and there’s no increased risk of birth defects for children conceived with frozen sperm. Sperm freezing has been done since 1953, and it’s a very effective method of preserving fertility.
    • Men who want to hold off on fatherhood should bank their sperm. Men can father children late in life, so they don’t have the same biological urgency as women to conceive in a certain time frame. However, the risk of certain conditions, including autism, increases when a man passes age 50, so if he’s planning to conceive after that, it’s better to preserve the sperm in advance.
    • Semen has no expiration date. Theoretically, sperm can be frozen forever, as long as it’s stored correctly. Sperm that has been frozen for 20 years has still been used to successfully conceive a child.
    • Here’s how the process works. Before the appointment, you’ll be asked to abstain from sexual activity for two or three days. Once you get to the clinic, there’s paperwork and bloodwork, and then the sample is collected. Freshness impacts fertility, so it’s best to collect it at the clinic. Once the sample is in the cup, the sperm is analyzed for quantity, shape, and movement, to determine whether more samples are necessary. The sample is divided into different vials and frozen by an experienced lab technician trained to protect the sperm cells with cryoprotectant agents.

    Many men freeze sperm before undergoing a vasectomy, but if that wasn’t the case for you, there’s still hope. At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.