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How Long Can You Store Sperm at Home?

The law now allows people to consent to store eggs, sperm or embryos for up to 55 years. For storage to continue you will need to renew your consent every 10 years.

Sperm can be frozen indefinitely and there have been pregnancies resulting from samples that have been frozen for over 20 years. To do this, you need to follow a particular procedure.

Storage Temperatures

The quality of sperm declines quickly, especially if it is stored at temperatures that are not optimal for sperm. This can cause the sperm to become stale, and infertile or non-viable.

It is possible to store a sperm sample at home, however, it is important that the semen remains refrigerated and the storage container is clean (dirt and moulds can contaminate the sperm). A basic wine cooler works well for this as it will keep the semen at around 63 degrees, but it’s recommended to use the gel packs that the sperm comes in as they are insulated and better regulate the temperature.

Sperm is very temperature sensitive and can suffer from poor motility and morphology when exposed to high or low temperatures. This is why it is always a good idea to contact a fertility specialist to discuss the options for storing your sperm.

The lab where your sperm is sent for analysis will also provide feedback and guidance on how to store the sample correctly at home. Once your sperm has been analysed, it will be placed into small tubes called freezing straws and frozen in liquid nitrogen at minus 196 degrees Celsius. Once the sperm has been frozen it will remain that way until it is thawed and used for artificial insemination. The sperm will not age or deteriorate at this very cold temperature.

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Vial Storage

Ideally, sperm should be stored at about 39degF, or slightly above body temperature. A specialized storage container is necessary for this purpose. Studies have shown that sperm that has been refrigerated for up to 24 hours maintains its fertility, but it is not guaranteed that the sperm will be fertile after this period of time.

Sperm can be frozen and kept for extended periods of time, but the process is complicated and requires laboratory-trained personnel to ensure that sperm is properly collected, tested and frozen. This service can be arranged through several different companies. Typically, the client will masturbate at home and collect his semen into a special container provided by the company. It is important that a lubricant not be used during masturbation as saliva can damage the sperm sample.

After a sample is collected, it will be tested for infectious diseases, signs of contamination and for sperm count and motility. Once the sperm passes all of these tests, it is then divided into several vials and frozen at around -196 degrees Celsius.

The client can then choose to use his semen in an artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization procedure, or can store the sperm for future use. For this latter option, a sperm cryobank may be required. These are facilities that specialize in long-term sperm storage and have rigorous medical standards for the collection, testing, storing and release of sperm samples. Sperm can be stored at these facilities for up to 10 years.

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Freezing

Frozen semen is also used in artificial insemination (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI). It may be useful for people who are not able to produce enough sperm, due to age or medical conditions, or for couples who have difficulty conceiving. However, pregnancy cannot be guaranteed with this method.

Before freezing a sample of sperm it’s important that the man has been assessed by a healthcare professional. This will involve tests for infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis, to ensure that the sperm is safe to store and use. It’s also important that a written consent for storage is provided at this point. If this consent isn’t renewed the sperm will be removed from storage and disposed of.

A few specialist companies now offer at home sperm freezing kits. These include tools and a kit to collect the sample from the ejaculate at home, which is then sent back to the clinic to be frozen and stored. These kits make the process more convenient, private and affordable.

The cost of sperm storage can vary, depending on the amount of semen saved and how long it will be stored. In general, costs can range from $100 to $500 per year for short or long term storage. There is also a one-time fee for collection and analysis of the semen sample.

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Cryobank Storage

Cryobank storage is one of the best options for preserving sperm. It involves having the sperm frozen by a professional and stored in cryo-tanks at a temperature of -196 degrees. When stored properly, sperm can last for decades. This type of sperm banking is often done by people who may be going through chemotherapy or other treatment that can reduce their fertility, as it allows them to still have children.

The quality of refrigerated sperm declines over time. For this reason, it is important to store sperm at a temperature of 5°C for no more than 48 hours. After this time, the sperm’s ability to fertilize an egg can decrease significantly.

At Legacy, we use the most advanced cryogenic equipment and procedures. Our sperm is tested by two independent CLIA-certified labs and kept in separate, cryo-tanks for the highest level of security. Our sperm samples have been used in successful conceptions for decades, and we have many different packages to choose from depending on your needs. We also offer a free sperm analysis with every bundle. If you’re considering freezing your sperm, contact us to find out more about our different bundles and to schedule your test. We look forward to helping you start a family!