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All about sperm freezing

Sperm freezing is a simple way to preserve a man’s fertility for the future. There are many reasons you may consider freezing sperm, from upcoming medical treatment that may affect fertility (such as chemotherapy) to low sperm count. This page will help you navigate whether sperm freezing is right for you, introduce the costs involved and explain how to get started. 

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Written by Apricity Team

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    Do I need to freeze my sperm?

    The usual profiles for men who freeze sperm include: 

    • Men who have a medical condition or are facing medical treatment for a condition that may affect fertility, such as chemotherapy

    • Men who have a vasectomy planned, but would like to have sperm available in case they change their mind about having (more) children

    • Men with a low sperm count, or quality, or with deteriorating sperm quality

    • Men experiencing difficulty producing a semen sample during fertility treatment

    • Males transitioning to females, who want to preserve fertility before starting hormone therapy or reconstructive surgery

    • Men at risk of injury or death (for example, members of the Armed Forces who are being deployed to a war zone)

    • Men who wish to donate their sperm

    Before freezing sperm, it is helpful to assess sperm quality. If this is of interest, our Fertility Diagnostics for Men includes a semen analysis and a discussion with a fertility doctor to review results and ask questions.

    How does sperm freezing work?

    The steps below explain how sperm freezing works and explains the process.

    1. The first step in any treatment with Apricity is a phone call with a fertility advisor. During your call, you can ask questions and receive guidance. You can book a callback here.

    2. Once you decide to go ahead with sperm freezing, you will receive a choice of clinics where you can produce a sample. Your advisor will walk you through all of the admin and book an appointment for you. You will need to give written consent to your sperm being stored and specify how long you would like it to be stored for.

    3. On the day of your appointment, you will be asked to produce a fresh sample (if you are able to). 

    4. Your sperm will be tested for infectious diseases like HIV and Hepatitis. The results do not affect whether you are able to freeze (or use) sperm, but rather to ensure that sperm samples affected are stored separately to prevent contamination. 

    5. Sperm is then divided in several containers (called straws), so that it can be thawed (defrosted) in batches rather than all at once. Samples are cooled gradually and stored in liquid nitrogen.

    6. When you wish to use your frozen sperm, you can get in touch with the clinic or a fertility advisor to arrange thawing. 

    If you are not able to produce a sperm sample, there are other options to retrieve sperm, such as surgical sperm retrieval.

    How much does sperm freezing cost?

    Sperm freezing with Apricity costs £845. This includes:

    • 12 months of storage

    • Infectious disease screening tests

    • Sperm sample at clinic

    • Sperm freezing of one sample 

    • Treatment planning consultation

    • Supportive counselling (if desired)

    • Fertility advisors available 7 days a week

    • Companion app with medically certified guidance on fertility treatments and assessments

    Additional samples frozen within 3 months of the first sample cost £200 per sample. 

    Annual storage costs £350 per year. This will start after the 12 months included in our sperm freezing package. 

    How long can sperm be frozen for?

    The UK has current legal limitations: a 10-year storage limit. However, this 10-year storage limit will be replaced with a right for individuals or couples who freeze eggs, sperm or embryos to be asked every 10 years if they want to keep or dispose of them, up to a maximum of 55 years. The extension will need a change in the law. However, the Department of Health and Social Care has not indicated how and when that will happen. Learn more and stay updated on The Guardian.

    What should I do with leftover frozen sperm?

    On the other hand, you may have frozen sperm leftover that you no longer wish to use. If this is the case, you can either donate your sperm or discard it. Options for donation include research, training or to someone who needs donor sperm to create a family. The clinic where your sperm is frozen will be able to arrange this for you. 

    Some people prefer to discard sperm. When this is done, a clinic removes the sperm from the freezer. It will perish naturally in warmer temperatures.

    Sperm Freezing: Success Rates

    Fertility treatment with frozen sperm is just as successful as fertility treatment with fresh sperm. Whether treatment is successful will depend on standard fertility factors, such as age, quality of egg and sperm, and fertility history. 

    Are there any risks to sperm freezing?

    Sperm freezing is very safe. The HFEA recognises no risks to patients or children from using frozen sperm, although acknowledges that not all frozen sperm will survive the thawing process.

    I am ready to use my frozen sperm in fertility treatment. How do I proceed?

    Your fertility advisor will help you plan your fertility treatment and ensure that your sperm is thawed at the right time. When the woman undergoing treatment is ready for embryo transfer, the sperm will be thawed and prepared for use. If undergoing IVF, it will be mixed in a petri dish with eggs. If the sperm quality is suboptimal, ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) may be suggested instead. In this procedure, sperm is selected and then placed right next to the egg to facilitate fertilisation.  

    If you wish to use your frozen sperm in fertility treatment with another clinic, simply let us know, and we will arrange the transfer.

    Written by Apricity Team

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