What is Sperm Storage?
Sperm storage or sperm cryopreservation or sperm banking are all terms used to define the rapidly growing use of male fertility preservation. Sperm is collected, typically through masturbation, and frozen in cryovials or straws then stored in liquid nitrogen-filled tanks. This has proven to be an extremely effective means of preserving sperm, and when combined with the appropriate storage and shipping protocols, no one knows for how long the sperm can be preserved. However, twins were recently born from 40 year old cryopreserved sperm, shattering the previous record of 28 years.
Who Uses Sperm Freezing?
- Cancer Patients
- Pre-Vasectomy Patients
- Military Personnel, Police Officers, Firefighters
- High Impact Athletes
- Transgender Clients
- Advancing Paternal Age
By far the largest group of sperm storage users are male cancer patients. Due to the high cure rates for many types of cancer, oncology professionals are more frequently directing patients to male fertility preservation options prior to cancer treatments that could leave them infertile.
However, many of our clients at ReproTech have chosen sperm cryopreservation due to a career or calling or a lifestyle in which an injury could leave them infertile. Others whose careers put them in harms way choose sperm storage as a means to assure their spouse can have their child, should they suffer serious injury which impacts their fertility.
The Long-Term Sperm Storage Experts
Since 1990, ReproTech, Ltd. has been the leader in long-term storage of cryopreserved human reproductive tissues. It is all we do.
With four facilities strategically located throughout the U.S., and an ever expanding network of Fertility Preservation clinics, we’ve created the most convenient, effective, and affordable means for collecting, storing, and returning cryopreserved sperm.
Each of our four locations are monitored 24/7 by state-of-the-art Rees monitoring systems, which record temperature changes as small as 0.01 degrees Celsius. Additionally, all tanks are manually monitored on a weekly basis by our experienced personnel, and our facilities are under 24-hour security and surveillance. Each facility has on-site back-up, bulk nitrogen storage, and all electronic data is backed up daily with off-site data storage.
Sperm storage and sperm cryopreservation is fast, efficient, and reliable when you choose ReproTech. Your options include the convenience of our OverNite Male™ Kit—for at home, expedited specimens—or you can work through the largest network of sperm freezing centers in the world to find a clinic near you. Either way, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your future is safe with the worldwide leader in long-term sperm storage.
Sperm Freezing Centers for Cancer Patients
ReproTech works closely with fertility service centers across the United States to make sperm cryopreservation services available nationwide. While RTL does not provide sperm freezing services, our network of freezing centers do. Once specimens have been preserved, we coordinate the transportation of your frozen semen to RTL for long-term storage.
To locate a sperm freezing center near you, please see the ReproTech Fertility Preservation Network for more information. Sperm banking appointments are available for scheduling within one to three days of your initial call. While it is advantageous for patients to bank all frozen semen specimens prior to beginning therapies that can result in infertility, recent studies have shown that viable samples can be collected in the early stages of some treatments.
Sperm Banking from Home (Sperm Banking by Air)
The OverNite Male™ Kit is a convenient tool for patients who are unable to travel to one of the many ReproTech Fertility Preservation Network Clinics. These patients can now collect their specimens at home and FedEx® the specimen(s) directly to the University of Illinois at Chicago Andrology Laboratory using our OverNite Male™ Kit. The OverNite Male™ Kit is the original overnight sperm banking system and the only one with 15 years of proven success. Click here for more information.
Sperm Collection Options
While the two sperm collection methods discussed above will be effective for the vast majority of people seeking sperm cryopreservation options, there are a small percentage of people who, due to age or health reasons, may need more.
The following are just two examples. For a more complete discussion of options, please click here.
Testicular Sperm Extraction (TESE) and Sperm Freezing
When it is not possible to produce a sperm sample for storage, sperm can often be obtained from a testicular tissue biopsy using a technique called testicular sperm extraction (TESE). In many cases, sperm can be retrieved from the testes of men who have become infertile due to cancer treatments. TESE is a common procedure in many fertility service clinics across the country for adult men, but is less commonly used (and considered experimental) for fertility preservation in adolescent boys. TESE is an outpatient procedure where testicular tissue is surgically removed and frozen for future use. When needed, the testicular tissue is thawed, evaluated, and an attempt is made to locate and retrieve sperm cells, which may be used in combination with Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI).
Testicular Tissue Freezing for Pre-Pubescent Boys
Sperm banking is not an option for prepubertal boys who are not yet producing sperm. However, these boys do have stem cells in their testes that are poised to begin producing sperm at puberty. Currently there are some experimental studies underway to preserve testicular tissue obtained by biopsy and freeze it for future use. The tissue contains stem cells which will be able to start spermatogenesis (sperm production). Testicular tissue freezing is considered experimental and is generally only offered in a research setting with IRB oversight. Several studies are developing protocols that will enable scientists and physicians to use the frozen/thawed testicular tissue and stem cells to produce sperm in the laboratory or by re-implanting, years later, back into the individual. Research has proven these strategies are effective in animals and it is envisioned that they will also be effective in humans.
The Fertility Preservation Program of Pittsburgh is a multidisciplinary working group that includes key stake holders at Magee-Womens Research Institute, Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. The Fertility Preservation Program of Pittsburgh has established a dedicated phone line (412-641-7475) that patients and their physicians can call to learn about the reproductive side effects of their treatments and options for preserving their fertility. This is a discussion that needs to happen before toxic therapies are initiated and fertility is irreversibly destroyed. There are no standard options to preserve the fertility of boys and girls who are not yet producing mature eggs or sperm. For these young patients, The Fertility Preservation Program of Pittsburgh is approved to freeze testicular or ovarian tissue that might be used in the future to restore fertility when experimental techniques emerge from the research pipeline. For more information on standard and experimental options for preserving fertility please visit http://www.mwrif.org/220 or call (412-641-7475).
Contact RTL for options for final disposition of semen specimens once your semen storage needs have ended.