Sperm banking is the freezing and storage of semen at a sperm banking facility. Semen is obtained through masturbation. It is generally recommended that men collect three specimens prior to the start of chemotherapy, with 24-72 hours of abstinence before and between each collection. Patients who can collect only a single specimen, and those who have low sperm counts or sperm with poor motility, should also sperm bank as there are new reproductive techniques to fertilize eggs despite these limitations. Once the specimen is frozen, it can be stored for many years, until the patient is ready to use it.1,2
Sperm banking is available for post-pubertal males. The patient has to be able to collect a specimen through masturbation. If he cannot, there are alternative, medical methods of collecting sperm.
When ready to attempt pregnancy, the frozen semen specimens are thawed and a sperm analysis is done. The thawed specimen(s) is used with assisted reproductive technology procedures such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF). Success rates vary based on age and fertility status of the female partner and on the quality of the pre-treatment specimen.
Costs vary, but generally average under $1000 for collection, testing and freezing. The number of samples will influence the cost, and storage fees are usually an additional $150-$300 per year. Some sperm banks offer discounts for cancer patients or reduced rates for long-term storage.