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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 Embryology Authority.

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

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 0JH

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 mentally incapacitated?
  • 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 used.
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 wish.

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 treatment

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.

Queries

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).