Sperm Freezing & Donor Sperm

When to and why to freeze your sperm


While egg freezing has just become technically feasible in recent years, sperm freezing has been available for a long time. It is a routine procedure widely used by sperm banks and many IVF programs.

The success of sperm freezing depends on the sperm quality such as concentration (sperm count), motility, and progression rate. Overall, the survival rate has been quite satisfactory. Once sperm has been processed and frozen, it can be stored in liquid nitrogen for many years.

Men freeze sperm for a variety of reasons. It is not uncommon to see patients decide to freeze their sperm prior to vasectomy. This means that they won’t have to resort to vasectomy reversal surgery in the event that they change their minds in the future.

Cancer patients who undergo therapies (such as radiation or chemotherapy) that will seriously compromise their fertility capacity are encouraged to freeze their sperm before they start the treatment.

For male patients who have low sperm count and motility, freezing sperm with multiple visits and using them later for intrauterine insemination (IUI) with a partner will increase the chance of pregnancy.

For couples who undergo IVF procedures, the male partner should consider having frozen sperm back up if he will not be available to collect a fresh sample due to a scheduling conflict or because of difficulty collecting samples on the day of egg retrieval.

If the male partner has extremely low sperm count/motility, the use of donor sperm may be recommended. Women who do not have a male partner but desire to become pregnant may also use donor sperm.

In most cases, donor sperm is obtained from sperm banks where the sperm donors undergo extensive medical and genetic screening. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires sperm donors to be screened for communicable diseases and associated risk factors. Current FDA guidelines recommend that sperm be quarantined for at least 180 days before being released and used.

In addition to the medical and genetic screening and strictly following FDA and American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) guidelines, reputable sperm banks often offer a wide selection of qualified donors and assurance of good quality samples.

Although we are not a sperm bank and do not accept donors who wish to donate their sperm, there are many reputable sperm banks locally and nationally who actively recruit sperm donors. Men who wish to donate sperm can contact these sperm banks for donor applications and testing. They will need to go through a series of testing to determine if they are qualified as sperm donors.