The term sperm refers to the male reproductive cell that, when successfully combined with the female reproductive cell, called an egg, forms a zygote that then potentially can develop into a fetus.
Typically, all human males can produce and store sperm in the testicles, and because of the organ’s warm and controlled environment, sperm cells can survive there for long periods. Another way of storing sperm cells is through cryopreservation.
Cryopreservation is the process of freezing using an agent called liquid nitrogen and is commonly used in preserving embryos and sperm, as well as other types of cells and organisms. This has been especially useful for couples experiencing difficulty in conception and trying in vitro fertilization.
In vitro fertilization involves a method in which a sperm fertilizes an egg cell from a woman outside of the body. This is done using the egg cell of the woman and the sperm cell of the man or a donor.
The donor sperm is gathered through a strict and scientific process to ensure no risk of spreading infectious diseases. Almost any healthy male can be a sperm donor, just as long as he is willing to follow the necessary steps.
But the reason for being a sperm donor should not just be limited to your desire to help troubled couples. There are also other reasons that you may want to consider storing your sperm, such as:
- You will be undergoing vasectomy
- A low sperm count or deterioration of sperm quality over time
- Difficulty in producing quality sperm on the day of fertility treatment
- Your sperm will be used for donation
- You have a medical condition which may result in infertility later in life
- You are facing medical treatment that may affect your fertility (e.g., cancer treatment)
The process of collecting the sperm is fairly straightforward. A screening will be done to see the history of the donor and to find out the purpose of sperm freezing. It is better to bring medical records for the clinician’s reference. If a donor qualifies, he will be asked to produce a semen specimen. This will then be analyzed, frozen, and stored.
The cost of the whole process would depend on the clinic you select. Generally, a fee applies to the screening and freezing process and the storage of the sample.