Sperm Banking before Surgery : A guide to Vasectomy

This procedure involves removing sperm prior to surgery and placing them in ‘cryo-storage’ (deep freeze). This preserves the sperm and is an ideal choice for couples where the man has suffered from testicular cancer or has changed his mind after a vasectomy.

In other words, you ‘bank’ your sperm for a later date. If you undergo a vasectomy but then change your mind then you still have the option of starting a family – either via artificial insemination or through IVF treatment.

It is also a good choice for men who have experienced testicular cancer and are worried about becoming sterile as a result of chemotherapy treatment.

What this procedure does is to preserve your sperm in exactly the same condition at the time they were taken. They can be stored for as long as you want and can be a cheaper option than vasectomy reversal.

How much does sperm banking cost?

If you are undergoing chemotherapy for testicular cancer then you may find that the hospital at which you are being treated will store sperm for you on the NHS. This may be done for free but you will need to check this.

Private clinics will expect you to pay the cost of storage –which can be a monthly or annual figure along with other associated costs. But some clinics waive this and only require you to pay a fee when you want to use the sperm. In other words, you pay for the cost of the procedure required to do so.

As you might imagine the costs will increase the longer you store sperm for. In some cases this can cost thousands of pounds so is something to bear in mind.

You will need to research fertility centres and private clinics to compare costs and what you get for your money.

What temperature is the sperm frozen at?

Your sperm is placed in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of minus 321 to 176 Fahrenheit although this depends on the clinic.

Sperm banking procedure

If you have discussed this with your surgeon and he/she agrees this is a good idea then your next step is to find a suitable clinic. Once you have done this, meet with the clinic staff and ask them about their storage procedure. Ask them how long you can store sperm for and what the costs are.

If you are satisfied with this then you will have to sign a consent form before arranging a date for you to give a sample. The clinic will run a screening test on your sample before freezing it. It is a good idea to maintain regular contact with the clinic as regards how long you wish to store your sperm.

What are the effects of freezing on the sperm?

This varies between individuals but you need to consider that sperm stored in this way has a 50 to 60% chance of survival once it has been thawed out. This is even less for poor quality sperm.

This does not guarantee pregnancy; rather it means that the sperm has survived and may result in a pregnancy.

If you do decide that you want to start a family then you have two options of doing so:

  • Artificial insemination: this is carried out on the woman on the day she ovulates.
  • IVF treatment: the sperm is combined with an egg from the woman’s Fallopian tubes – a process known as ‘fertilisation’ and then implanted back into the woman.

If you want to know about this and other fertilisation procedures then visit our Complete Guide to Infertility.

Sperm banking is seen as a cheaper and easier way of starting a family than a vasectomy reversal.

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