Frozen sperm offers individuals and couples who wish to have children the option of doing so without risking their own health. It also allows men with medical conditions to become parents.
There are several ways to freeze sperm, including through a fertility clinic or sperm bank. Both options require a sample of semen to be analyzed and frozen.
Cost of Freezing
The cost of freezing sperm depends on where you go for the procedure. Some health care systems have their own cryopreservation facilities, and these costs may be lower than other locations. Many sperm banks charge an annual fee for storage and upkeep, but these fees are typically around $300 or less. The cost of storing sperm is generally a small fraction of the overall cost of artificial insemination.
To start the process, you’ll have a medical consultation and undergo different tests to make sure you are healthy enough for the procedure. These tests can include a urological exam and infectious disease screening. The cost of these tests varies from location to location, but they shouldn’t be over $1,000.
Once your sperm is ready to be frozen, andrologists (specialists in male fertility) will prepare it for storage by separating it from seminal fluid or testicular tissue. They then examine the sample under a microscope to look for sperm concentration, morphology, and motility. This ensures that there is enough sperm to freeze.
The prepared sperm is then placed into vials and put into tanks filled with liquid nitrogen. The sperm samples can be stored indefinitely. In fact, there are sperm samples that have been frozen for more than 20 years. Using a sperm sample frozen this long is not recommended, but it’s possible to conceive with these samples if they are high quality.
Cost of Storage
The cost of sperm storage can vary, depending on the duration of storage and the size of the sample. Most sperm banks charge a monthly or annual storage fee. These fees do not include costs associated with thawing or insemination. However, they do cover laboratory processing and semen handling. These services may also be covered by some insurance plans. In addition, there are additional charges for infectious disease testing and blood panel screening. These costs are usually added to the sperm bank’s base price.
The sperm freezing process is less invasive than egg-freezing and typically has higher success rates. The average sperm sample can be stored for about 10 years, although successful births have been achieved after up to 20 years of storage. However, the success rate of frozen sperm can decline over time and is influenced by several factors, including age.
Many companies now produce at-home sperm-analysis and freezing kits. These can be a more convenient alternative to a doctor’s office visit and may save on storage and travel costs. They also offer more flexible payment plans. However, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional to get accurate costs and guidance on the process.
Cost of Insemination
While sperm-freezing may not be as costly as egg-freezing, there are costs associated with using frozen semen. These include thawing and insemination fees. These costs can add up quickly, particularly if you plan to use frozen sperm over multiple cycles of artificial insemination.
Herati notes that most fertility clinics require patients to pay a fee for both analysis and freezing. However, Legacy offers a complete sperm-freezing kit that can cost far less than a visit to a fertility clinic. Kteily says the company’s test also includes a post-thaw analysis to ensure that your sample is viable, something that fertility clinics cannot offer.
Once your sample is frozen, you’ll have to pay an annual storage fee. This can range from $100 to $500 per year. There may also be shipping costs to transport the sperm from the cryopreservation facility to your doctor or partner.
Insemination can be expensive as well, but it’s worth it for some men. For instance, sperm-freezing can be a good option for soldiers who will be deployed to war zones, who may not have time to conceive after their return home. It can also be helpful for men over 50, who have a higher risk of producing children with chromosomal abnormalities like Down’s Syndrome. However, a more invasive method of insemination, called in vitro fertilization, can cost thousands of dollars and takes up to two cycles to get pregnant.
Cost of Delivery
When sperm is frozen, the sample may need to be delivered to the fertility clinic or reproductive endocrinologist for use. This typically involves fees for the collection, transport and storage of the specimen. There can also be a fee for a post-thaw analysis of the specimen. The post-thaw analysis may include testing for motility and a count of the number of viable sperm in each sample.
Sperm freezing is usually less expensive than egg-freezing because it does not require medications to produce the semen or collect the sample. This makes it a good option for men who have medical conditions that affect their fertility or who have had a vasectomy.
Some insurance providers cover the cost of sperm freezing, especially if it is done for medical reasons. And there are now services that allow men to sign up for sperm-freezing kits and ejaculate at home, sending the samples away for testing and freezing. These services are still in their early stages, but they offer a more convenient and private way to go about the process than visiting a fertility clinic or using a sperm donation service.
Whether you are thinking about getting married or want to become a parent in the future, it is worth considering sperm freezing for longevity purposes. Sperm can last for decades when frozen and has been used to successfully fertilize eggs.