Sperm Banking Frequently Asked Questions
Q: For what reason do people freeze their sperm?
A: In general, people who face the prospect of sterilization or an injury to the reproductive system store their sperm. Sterilization may be voluntary, as in, for example, vasectomy, or involuntary, in association with, for example, certain chemotherapies that have a side effect of dramatically reducing the production of sperm in the testes. Radiation exposure, surgery, and high-risk environmental exposure are other reasons. Some people prefer to store their sperm as insurance against a future in which there can be no guarantees that their reproductive health will not be jeopardized unknowingly.
Q: Is freezing harmful to the sperm?
A: In most cases, 50% or more of the sperm survive the thawing process. With such sperm there is no loss of fertilization potential.
Q: How long can sperm be stored?
A: At present, there is potentially no practical limit to the length of time that sperm can remain frozen in liquid Nitrogen.
Q: Does heat adversely affect the quality of sperm?
A: There is evidence that indicates prolonged heat to the testes is harmful to the quality of sperm. Heat can occur from a variety of conditions, including frequent use of a hot tub and prolonged high fever.
Q: Are the results of a number of semen analyses usually constant, or do they vary?
A: It is quite typical for the main characteristics of sperm and semen quality to vary from day to day, as well as week to week and month to month. Thus, especially in people who are highly variable, it is often necessary to analyze a number of samples to obtain an accurate assessment. Usually three samples are required for a reliable interpretation.
Q: What is the procedure for undertaking storage of sperm at CryoGam Colorado, LLC?
A: An initial visit is scheduled, at which time information sheets and consent forms are read and filled out. The consent form, itemizing the responsibilities of both the client and CryoGam is explained. At this time, the individual needs are addressed, and, finally, a program best meeting these needs is suggested and mutually considered.
Q: How do I know if I should store my specimens through the Personal Cryopreservation Program, or through the Directed Donor program?
A: CryoGam has two different programs for sperm storage, which we call our Personal Cryopreservation program and our Directed (Known) Donor programs. The programs are very different as far as different end-goal usage of sperm specimens. Specimens stored as personal cryopreservation may only be used with a sexually intimate partner. On the other hand, directed donors go through the same FDA screening, testing, and quarantine period as our anonymous donors, but still maintain full control of their specimens. Because directed donor specimens have been screened and quarantined according to FDA standards, they may be used with a gestational carrier or with a surrogate in the future. We typically recommend that our transgender patients go through the directed donor program, as this gives them much more freedom of use with their specimens when they are ready to use them. If a patient chooses the personal cryopreservation program, their specimens can only be used in the future with someone they are sexually intimate with because the cryopreservation client was not screened or tested at time of specimen collection. This means the specimens can only be released to someone with whom the patient has already shared bodily fluids.
Q: How is the semen specimen collected?
A: A single specimen is collected in a sterile container by masturbation. Because of the need to ascertain identity, the specimen must be collected in our office. A private room is available specifically for the purpose of semen collection. We emphasize that it is the policy of CryoGam to respect the privacy of the client.
Q: What is the normal volume of an ejaculate?
A: The ejaculatory volume ranges from two to five milliliters (2-5mL.)
Q: How many total specimens are necessary?
A: A minimum of three is recommended for storage prior to surgery and/or therapy, however, it is certainly the client's prerogative as to how many ejaculates they may want to store. It is important to remember that the more samples stored the more opportunity exists in the future.
Q: How long should the period of abstinence be between collections?
A: Three to seven days, and preferably not more than ten.
Q: What steps are taken to ensure that the stored sperm from the provider will not be confused with other stored samples?
A: A variety of safeguards have been implemented throughout the procedure for processing and storing sperm that reduce the chances of later error. At the time of collection of semen a picture ID must be presented to verify identity of the provider. Likewise, during the actual processing of the sample, elaborate identification measures are taken, including checks and double-checks, isolation of the sample, and extensive labeling.
Q: What is the procedure for using the frozen and stored sperm for insemination?
A: For release of frozen sperm from CryoGam, a notarized original copy of the "Consent to Transfer Cryopreserved Sperm from CryoGam" signed by the provider of the semen or by their legally authorized representative is necessary. The insemination units can be shipped directly to the provider or to a physician. A 72-hour notice is preferred.
Q: Are there guarantees that conception will take place?
A: Because conception depends on a variety of factors, we cannot guarantee that a pregnancy will result. The more you store, the more chances there will be for conception.
Q: What is the procedure for terminating the storage agreement?
A: A signed, notarized original copy of the "Consent to Destroy Semen" must be received from the provider or, in the event of their death, their legally authorized representative.