Sperm Banking Information for Patients
Sperm Banking Information for Patients
Sperm storage is provided as a free service to NHS patients
where fertility might be impaired by a medical condition, or as a
side effect of treatment. Some forms of chemotherapy, radiotherapy
and surgical therapy can lead to infertility that may be temporary
or permanent. This is known as 'premature infertility'. A charge
for this service is made to fee paying patients.
Before any of these therapies are carried out, it is possible to
store sperm using a freezing process known as "cryopreservation".
These samples can be used (after thawing) to overcome possible
sterility caused by the above treatments using procedures such as
Artificial Insemination, In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) or
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI).
The Andrology Laboratory in the Department of Reproductive
Medicine provides a service of long term semen storage for
premature infertility for up to 55 years. This service is regulated
and licensed by the UK statutory body, the Human Fertilisation and
Your clinician will refer you for long term sperm storage when
they have confirmed the possibility of premature infertility. They
will have arranged viral screening blood tests before referring you
to Andrology. These need to be negative for:
- Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- Human T-cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV)
Appointments are usually made quickly (often the next working
day). This gives you the best chance to store as much of your sperm
as possible, before your treatment starts. There is an information
booklet for patients: Long Term Sperm Storage,
which can be found in the related, media section of our website.
You can bring someone to accompany you to the appointment but you
will be seen alone if you prefer.
Location of Andrology
You will need to ask for the Andrology laboratory in the
Department of Reproductive Medicine. We are in the Old Saint Mary's
hospital building on the corner of Oxford Road and Hathersage Road.
Maps, directions and car parking (on Hathersage Road) can be found
on the left hand side of the web page under planning your visit. If
you are using a Sat Nav then enter the post code M13
HFEA consent forms
There are statutory (legal) regulations regarding the freezing
and storing of sperm. The Human Fertilisation & Embryology
Authority (HFEA) requires the patient's consent in writing prior to
sperm storage. The patient will need to consider:
- How long his sperm should be stored for.
- If he wishes to name a partner to be able to use his
sperm in assisted conception
- What will happen to his sperm if he died or became
- What will happen to his sperm if it is not used?
The patient is free to withdraw or vary the terms
of his consent at any time, unless the sperm has already been
You will need to attend Andrology to complete the legal HFEA
consent forms before sperm banking is undertaken. There is an
information booklet for patients: Consent giving,
which can be found in the related, downloads section on the
front page of our website.
Semen sample production
On the day of your appointment you will be asked to produce
semen sample, in one of our private rooms, by masturbation. 2-7
days abstinence from sexual activity is preferable for sperm
storage. There are some pornographic magazines available in the
rooms but we do not have any pornographic DVDs or internet access.
You may bring your own material with you to the appointment if you
Examination of semen sample
Your semen sample will be examined for the presence of motile
sperm. Freezing takes place as soon as possible after the sample is
passed, so it is better if the sample is produced on the premises.
It will then be stored in ampoules (small sealed bottles), in
liquid nitrogen vapour. The ampoules are labelled with your full
name, date of birth, reference number and the date of storage. You
will be informed of the quality of the sample and the number of
ampoules stored. You can wait for this information if you wish (it
will take approximately 20-30 minutes). Depending on when your
treatment starts you can store more samples if you wish.
Semen analysis check after completion of
You may wish to check whether your treatment has affected your
fertility. Some men recover their fertility after treatment, and if
you want a sperm count at any time after banking, please telephone
(0161) 276 6473 for an appointment. Please allow six months to
elapse from completion of your chemotherapy/ radiotherapy.
Change in circumstances
It is important to keep us informed of any change
in your circumstances e.g. change of address, change of
partner. This is in case we have to notify you of any changes
in regulations. We will contact you every 10 years to decide if you
need to keep your samples in long term storage. If your premature
infertility diagnosis remains, you can continue to store your
samples for up to 55 years. We will try to contact you 5 and 2
years before the end of the statutory storage period. If we have no
contact from you, your samples will be destroyed when they
reach the end of their statutory storage period.
If you need any more information about the service, you can
phone us on 0161 276-6473.
Sperm Banking Information for under 16s
The DVD 'Whack to the Future' from the Teenage Cancer Trust is
designed specifically for under 16s. It entails a cartoon story
encompassing the reasons and implications of storing sperm. It is
advisable to watch the DVD prior to consultation with Andrology, so
that you have a deeper understanding of what the process entails
and why it is recommended. (www.teenagecancertrust.org).