About Storing Sperm

Who stores their sperm?

Client Depositor sperm storage accounts:

  • A recent diagnosis
  • Upcoming treatment or surgery
  • Transitioning MTF
  • Fertility preservation
  • Frequent travel while trying to conceive

Directed or Known Donor storage accounts:

  • You are storing for some one you know. 
  • You are storing for the use with a surrogate
  • Storing now for an unknown reproductive partner in the future
How do I get started?

To begin the sperm storage process please call us to request an information packet and/or to schedule your initial appointment. At the first visit we will review the Storage Contract with you, and you’ll provide urine, blood and semen samples in our lab.

For a Client Depositor Account, we do a complete semen analysis on your sample to determine sperm count and motility. If your semen contains no sperm, we won’t store the sample and we’ll reduce the fee for your visit. However, we will store all semen samples that contain some genetic material. Advances in reproductive technologies make it possible for conception to occur, even with samples with very low sperm counts or even from samples with non-motile sperm.

For Directed Donors and Known Donors we highly recommend you schedule a semen analysis and test thaw appointment with TSBC prior to setting up a storage account. At this appointment, the donor provides an ejaculate for evaluation only—the ejaculate is not stored and can not be used for insemination. Our lab will perform a complete semen analysis on the sample, freeze it, and thaw it a week later to assess cryo survival. The semen analysis indicates the donor’s general fertility, and the test thaw indicates how well the donor’s sperm survives freezing.

The woman (women) who will be using the sperm the achieve pregnancy will need to register as a recipient on the Directed Donor account. 

 

What is the difference? What kind of account do I need?

For individuals who are storing semen for use with their spouse or intimate partner you will need to open a Client Depositor Account. This account has minimal required FDA testing and costs between $1000 to $1200 to set-up (price varies based on optional tests and number of return visits). These vials cannot be used for surrogacy or co-parenting arrangements. 

A Directed Donor Account is for individuals who are storing semen to be used with someone who is not their spouse or intimate partner. This account has extensive FDA required testing and screening as well as a six month vial quarantine. The cost to set-up this account is between $1900 and up (price varies based on optional tests and number of return visits and washing the samples). This account is the most flexible and these vials once released can be used for partners, surrogacy, co-parenting and arrangements.
Preliminary paperwork and documents are required and must be submitted prior to initial visit.

Known Donor Account is the same as a Directed Donor (vials for partners, surrogacy, co-parenting) in terms of FDA required testing, however is set up without the six month quarantine. Instead of a 6-month quarantine, for a Known Donor account the donor is required to have STD testing every 7 days while making deposits. The cost to set-up this account is between $1900 and up (price varies based on optional tests and number of return visits and washing the samples and the number of repeat 7-day blood draws). Preliminary paperwork and documents are required and must be submitted prior to initial visit.

When is the best time to ask questions about fees and storage billing?

Please ask questions about fees, timing, requirements, recommendations, etc. before setting up the first storage appointment. We are here to help and we do our best to make all of the information available to you. The process of storing sperm can be complicated and costly and it's best to get all the details lined up ahead of time.  We ask that you take your time and avoid rushing and skipping over details. Asking questions before prevents confusion and upset once the account is being opened and fees and time lines are being assessed. 

How long can sperm be frozen?

As long as freezing conditions remain at a constant, very low, temperature, sperm can survive the freezing process indefinitely. Those sperm that die do so within the first 48 hours of freezing, and the attrition rate thereafter is minimal. Frozen semen can be stored for as long as 50 years without additional sperm deterioration beyond that caused by the original freezing process.

How can I increase my sperm count?

Sperm count can be affected by length of abstinence, nutrition, stress, amount of sleep, drug and alcohol use, and illness. Avoid anything that will cause the testicles to overheat like hot tubs, hot showers, long or daily bike rides.The most important step you can take to maximize your sperm count is to abstain from ejaculating for at least forty-eight hours before each storage visit. Forty-eight hours is the minimum amount of time it takes to replenish sperm. Between two to five days of abstinence is optimal. Abstinence of more than five days is likely to cause an accumulation of aging and dead sperm in the ejaculate. Volume can vary with each ejaculate. 

How does freezing affect sperm?

Between 50% to 80% of sperm die in the freezing process. Sperm survival varies a great deal from individual to individual and from ejaculate to ejaculate. We prepare a test thaw vial containing a small amount of semen from each stored ejaculate. A week after freezing, we thaw this vial and take a sperm count to determine the sperm survival rate for that ejaculate. (You can call us for test thaw results a week after your initial appointment). There is no research at this time on what can be done to increase the survival rate of an individuals sperm during freezing. 

Should I wash my sample(s)?

TSBC does not automatically wash sperm samples. While sperm washing eliminates seminal plasma and replaces it with a buffered solution that is beneficial to sperm and prepares the sample for an intrauterine inseminations, this manipulation also adds additional stress to the sperm cells.

Washing, in conjunction with the freezing process, can reduce the number of sperm that will survive after the sample is thawed. Also, clients have more options when the sperm is not washed prior to freezing, as the end result is usually vials with greater total number motile sperm. For this reason, it's TSBC's policy to freeze semen samples unwashed unless the client specifically requests otherwise. We recommend that you speak with your Medical Professional for help making this decision.<

Am I guaranteed a baby from the stored semen?

No. Conception depends on a variety of factors such as sperm survival, the sperm count of each sample, and the fertility of the person inseminating. Once thawed, frozen sperm only lives up to twenty-four hours inside the uterus body as opposed to fresh sperm, which can live for several days.

How many visits should I make to the sperm bank?

One vial = One insemination = One attempt at pregnancy

The more visits you are able to make, the more samples will be available for insemination attempts, which can increase the chances of conception. After we determine the volume and post-thaw sperm count of your first ejaculate, we’ll be able to better discuss how many visits you might want to make.

An average ejaculate yields between two and four cc in volume. This would create 2 to 4 vials for freezing (vials are one cubic centimeter, or 1 cc in volume). A post-thaw sperm count of 20 million motile sperm per cc would be optimal to increase the chances of conception. However, there are many variables and no real average. We can discuss ideals and minimums with you.

Can I provide samples at home?

As soon as you ejaculate, the sperm in your ejaculate begins to deteriorate. We ask that you provide your semen samples on our premises so our lab can begin the cryopreservation process as soon as possible. If you are unable to visit our offices, on rare occasions we will accept a semen sample that has been provided off-site, but we will ask you to sign a waiver stating that you assume all the risks associated with the reduced sample quality. Please call us for more information.

What is the procedure for retrieving semen samples?

In order to release semen samples, we require a written request signed by the semen provider or the authorized representative designated in his storage agreement. The provider or his authorized representative should call to arrange for retrieval of samples; there is a specific release form to fill out and there are fees associated with retrieval and shipping. You can either pick up the samples at TSBC’s offices or make arrangements to have them shipped to your home or doctor’s office. Your spouse or intimate partner will also need to complete our Informed Consent for Recipient of Client Depositor Semen.

What is the procedure for canceling storage?

In the event that you no longer wish to continue storing your samples, you must submit and sign a written request authorizing their destruction.