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Sperm Banking & Cryopreservation
The Cryopreservation Process
The purpose of cryopreserving semen (sperm banking) is to help ensure the possibility of conception in the future. When choosing a sperm bank, it is important to find a facility that you believe will be in business for many years to come (we have been open since the 1980s) so that you can safely store your sperm long-term.
At the Fertility Center of California our sperm bank uses the most advanced medical equipment available and has around the clock security to keep your specimens safe. If you are reaching advanced reproductive age, have a hazardous occupation or will undergo major surgery, you are an excellent candidate for sperm banking.
Short-term semen cryobanking is the depositing, freezing and storage of sperm at a sperm bank for less than one year. Cryobanked sperm is then used in artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other fertility treatment procedures.
Short-term semen cryobanking is recommended to preserve semen for deferred inseminations when an intimate partner is temporarily absent. It is also recommended in cases of oligozoospermia (low sperm counts) where multiple semen collections and pooling may be desirable for use in a single insemination. Short-term storage is also performed prior to assisted reproductive technologies (i.e., in vitro fertilization, gamete intrafallopian transfer, etc...) to secure a good quality semen specimen for the prospective procedure.
Process of Collection of Specimen and Cryopreservation at FCC
After reading the information on this page, you may fill out the forms for cryopreservation.
Contact our office to ask any questions you may have and make an appointment to collect a semen sample. Services are provided 7 days a week. Prior to the collection of semen, sexual abstinence for at least 2 days, but not more than 5 days, is recommended to maximize the quality of the sample for cryopreservation.
The specimen will be collected into a sterile container through masturbation. Collection may occur at home, provided that it does not take more than 1 hour to bring the sample to our facility. Otherwise, specimens may be collected at our facility in our private rooms designated for this purpose. Please bring a valid photo ID to your appointment. During your first visit, we will draw blood for the infectious disease screening. You can call our office for lab results the day after your appointment and decide if you would like to store more samples at our cryopreservation center.
A sperm sample will be divided into one or more vials depending on the number of motile sperm in the original sample. Each vial is used for one insemination attempt. However, some physicians like to use two vials per insemination or even perform two inseminations per cycle. No one can predict in advance how many vials are needed to achieve a pregnancy. We recommend at least 12 vials (3-6 samples) to be stored. The vials can also be used in advanced reproductive techniques such as IVF.
Proven, time-tested techniques enable semen specimens and embryos to be frozen and stored indefinitely in liquid nitrogen. According to the donor’s specific wishes, these specimens and embryos can later be thawed and used in an attempt to conceive through artificial insemination, IVF or other fertility treatment techniques.
Each sample (ejaculate) is mixed with a special media or solution to help provide protection during freezing and thawing. The samples are then placed in special plastic vials, which are coded, and carefully frozen in liquid nitrogen vapor. Once frozen, the vials are immersed in liquid nitrogen in secure tanks at a temperature of -196° C (-371° F). The liquid nitrogen is independent of any source of power, and is regularly checked and replenished. Each patient is assigned a unique “cryo code” and the sperm sample is processed individually using permanently marked vials by our licensed and certified clinical lab scientists.
Some men discover they have diseases or must undergo treatment or surgery, which will cause permanent sterilization or genetic damage. As cancer detection and treatment techniques improve, more conditions such as cancer are being detected at younger ages in men, with longer survival rates. Therefore, more men in their fertile years are now considering cryopreservation to preserve their fertility after cancer diagnosis.
Some fertile men wish to have a vasectomy, but still desire to keep the option open to father children should their circumstances change in the future.
Some men are engaged in high-risk occupations, which involve exposure to radiation, dangerous chemicals, or physical harm. Sperm banking helps ensure their chance of fathering children in the future. These occupations may force them to be away from their partners during a period of time in which they had planned to conceive a child. Artificial insemination using cryopreserved semen allows such couples a chance to follow their desired plan. We offer an @Home Sperm Freezing Kit for last minute deployments or emergencies.
Current California State Department of Health guidelines require that sperm donors (including partners) be screened for certain infectious diseases. Screening is also required for storage. The screening includes the following blood tests:
- HIV I-II
- Hepatitis C virus
- Hepatitis B surface antigen
- HTLV I-II
We require a screening the day we collect your first sperm sample or less than one month prior.