Pu­blished: 10. Fe­bruary 2022 | Up­dated: 14. De­cember 2023 Author: Chris­toph Müller-Gun­trum | Re­viewed by Chris­toph Müller-Gun­trum

Cryo­p­re­ser­va­tion — When sperm free­zing pre­serves fer­ti­lity 


Sperm Free­zing to pre­serve fer­ti­lity in men

In the 21st cen­tury, both women and men are get­ting older and older be­fore they think about ha­ving children for the first time. While women even­tually run out of eggs, men can theo­re­ti­cally have children as long as they are able to eja­cu­late. Ho­wever, stu­dies have shown that sperm qua­lity also de­clines in men as they age. Re­se­ar­chers led by Dr. Guy Morris of the Centre for Re­pro­duc­tive and Ge­netic He­alth con­cluded in their study of 5,000 par­ti­ci­pants that 61% of men under the age of 51 met WHO (World He­alth Or­ga­niza­tion) stan­dards for sperm qua­lity, com­pared to only 42% of men over the age of 51. The fer­ti­liza­tion rate for ICSI tre­at­ments was also de­clines the older the men are. In ad­di­tion, the risk of cer­tain ge­netic dis­or­ders is also higher as sperm age in­creases. So if you have good re­asons for wan­ting to have your sperm frozen, you can have this done by so-called cryo­p­re­ser­va­tion.


Re­asons for sperm free­zing

When tal­king about sperm free­zing, it is usually as­so­ciated with sperm do­na­tion. Cou­ples or even sin­gles can use the frozen sperm cells of a donor to ful­fill their child wish. But Sperm Free­zing can also be a great added value in other life si­tua­tions.

Free­zing sperm be­fore cancer tre­at­ment

Men dia­gnosed with testi­cular or pro­state cancer may lose their fer­ti­lity due to their tre­at­ment. For those who be­come ill at a young age, sperm free­zing gives them the op­por­tu­nity to fa­ther children even after ra­dia­tion, che­mo­the­rapy or com­plete re­m­oval of the testicles. In pre­pa­ra­tion for such tre­at­ments, it is still not common that pa­ti­ents are ap­proa­ched about the pos­si­bi­lity of cryo­p­re­ser­ving their sperm to pre­serve their fer­ti­lity. This makes it all the more im­portant to take the in­itia­tive yourself.

Sperm Free­zing in dan­ge­rous jobs

In rare cases, cer­tain working con­di­tions can lead to loss of fer­ti­lity. This is the case, when men are ex­posed to in­tense heat (for ex­ample as a stoker in a ship) or work with che­mi­cals on a daily basis. It is wort­hwhile for men to look into the pos­si­bi­lity of cryo­p­re­ser­va­tion in these cases in order to be on the safe side of fa­mily plan­ning.

Cryo­p­re­ser­va­tion in the con­text of fer­ti­lity tre­at­ments (ICSI & IVF)

Du­ring fer­ti­lity tre­at­ments, doc­tors usually try to fer­ti­lize the re­trieved eggs of the woman with “fresh” sperm, as the chances of suc­cess are sta­tis­ti­cally higher. In some cases ho­wever, this is not pos­sible or useful, for ex­ample if the man has pro­blems spon­ta­neously pro­vi­ding a sample. Also, if the sperm count is very low, then the sperm is coll­ected from se­veral de­li­veries, frozen and pre­pared for the fer­ti­liza­tion day.

Other re­asons for choo­sing cryo­p­re­ser­va­tion

There are many other con­ceivable re­asons why men may choose to have their sperm frozen:

  • be­fore gender re­as­sign­ment sur­gery
  • be­fore a vasec­tomy as a pre­cau­tion
  • be­fore me­dical tre­at­ments that may af­fect the ability to eja­cu­late

How does sperm free­zing work?

Du­ring cryo­p­re­ser­va­tion, se­veral sperm samples are usually de­li­vered to a spe­cia­lized center (a sperm bank or a fer­ti­lity center). The Sperm is first ex­amined and then stored in a depot with li­quid ni­trogen at ‑196°C ac­cor­ding to strict safety cri­teria in order to ex­clude any risk of con­fu­sion later on.

How long can sperm sur­vive frozen?

After sperm cryo­p­re­ser­va­tion is com­plete, they can be stored al­most in­de­fi­ni­tely under op­timal con­di­tions. Even after se­veral de­cades, there should not be any af­fect on sperm qua­lity.

Sperm Free­zing does not bring in­creased risks of ge­netic di­se­ases 
There is con­cern among some pa­ti­ents about whe­ther sperm free­zing car­ries an in­creased risk of ge­netic dis­or­ders. Ho­wever, there is no sci­en­tific evi­dence for this.


Costs of cryo­p­re­ser­va­tion: How ex­pen­sive is sperm free­zing?

Each pro­vider cal­cu­lates the costs slightly dif­fer­ently, so we can only give average prices at this point. If the costs are not reim­bursed by the he­alth insu­rance, then one-time costs of bet­ween 300€ and 500€ are in­curred for con­sul­ta­tion and preli­mi­nary ex­ami­na­tions. The sto­rage costs per year are usually in the double-digit to low triple-digit range.

Note on cost co­verage 
Since the 1st of July 2021, sta­tu­tory he­alth insu­rers co­vere the costs of sperm free­zing prior to cancer tre­at­ments for men up to the age of 50. In­clu­ding both the con­sul­ta­tion costs and the costs for the coll­ec­tion, ex­ami­na­tion, pro­ces­sing and sto­rage of the sperm cells.

We at Fer­tilly co­ope­rate with lea­ding Eu­ro­pean sperm banks and can offer you cer­tain dis­counts.

How much money you need for a spe­cific sperm bank and what you have to take into ac­count we can ex­plain to you in a simple and non-bin­ding way. Our pa­tient ad­vi­sors at Fer­tilly will give you a com­pre­hen­sive in­sight into this topic and will be happy to ad­vise you. Talk to us!

Test the qua­lity of your sperm

The At-home sperm test

At-Home Spermientest - Fertilly

Take your fer­ti­lity into your own hands!

Im­pro­ving your sperm he­alth in­creases your chances of con­cep­tion. With the At-Home Sperm Test, you can ea­sily check your sperm qua­lity from the com­fort of your own home. Using ad­vanced fer­ti­lity tech­no­logy, you’ll re­ceive ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion about the vo­lume, con­cen­tra­tion and mo­bi­lity of your sperm on your smart­phone in only 15 mi­nutes. The app also pro­vides you with va­luable per­so­na­lised tips to im­prove your sperm he­alth.

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About Fer­tilly

At Fer­tilly, we have made it our mis­sion to ac­com­pany cou­ples (ho­mo­se­xual and he­te­ro­se­xual) and sin­gles on the way to ful­fil­ling their child wish. In doing so, it is im­portant to us to create trans­pa­rency in the area of fer­ti­lity ser­vices, to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion and know­ledge on the to­pics of pregnancy and fer­ti­lity and to help you to find the most sui­table Fer­ti­lity Center. Th­rough co­ope­ra­tion with first-class Fer­ti­lity Cen­tres and cli­nics in Eu­rope, en­qui­ries about Fer­tilly are given pre­fe­ren­tial tre­at­ment. This means that our pa­ti­ents avoid the usually long wai­ting times and get ap­point­ments more quickly.

If you would like more in­for­ma­tion about Fer­ti­lity Cen­ters, suc­cess rates and prices, please contact us using this ques­ti­on­n­aire. We will ad­vise you free of charge and wi­t­hout any ob­li­ga­tion.

  • Answer the first ques­tions in the on­line form in order to book an ap­point­ment. This way we can better ad­dress your needs du­ring the con­ver­sa­tion.

  • We will find the best contact person for your in­di­vi­dual needs. Sche­dule 20 mi­nutes for the con­sul­ta­tion.

  • We will in­tro­duce you to the right fer­ti­lity clinic from our net­work, make an ap­point­ment and ac­com­pany you until your wish for a child is ful­filled.

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