Sperm banking

  • Samples accepted by appointment only - 8345 3992

    Sperm storage usually requires two appointments in order to store enough sperm for future use.

    The procedure

    We ask you to abstain from sex or ejaculation for two to seven days before each appointment in order to maximise your sperm count. It is preferable that you produce your samples by masturbation in a private room near the laboratory.

    Alternatively you could obtain the sample during intercourse by wearing a special condom available at the laboratory. If you produce your sample at home it is important that you get it to the laboratory within one hour of ejaculation. When your sample is returned to the laboratory it is tested, then mixed with a special cryoprotectant before undergoing a slow cooling program and final storage below -180o Celsius.

    Normal sperm have a very good chance of surviving the freezing process and human sperm have been successfully used after 20 years of storage in liquid nitrogen. However, there is no guarantee that any particular sample will prove fertile after storage.

    What you need to do

    • Obtain a request form from your doctor, requesting "Semen Analysis & Storage" x2
    • Make an appointment - 8345 3992.
    • Bring your Medicare card
    • Bring proof of identity-driver's licence, passport, or other official identity card with photograph.
    • Fill out a Storage Request form.
    • Pay the first annual storage fee on your first visit.       
    • Allow up to one hour for each appointment.

    If you are collecting semen for storage by masturbation there are a few practical details that you need to know:

    • This is usually done at the hospital so that the scientists can prepare and freeze the semen as soon as possible.
    • You should not use lubricants as they can damage the sperm and make the semen difficult to freeze.
    • Make sure you collect all of the semen - the first portion often contains most of the sperm.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    I've already started chemotherapy or radiotherapy, can anything be done?

    In most cases the Sperm Bank is unable to store your sperm after commencement of your cancer treatment.  This is because your sperm may have temporary genetic damage.  It is therefore extremely important that you contact us before commencing chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Please contact us if you have already started treatment and we will consult further with your doctor.


    Does freezing damage the sperm?

    Some of the sperm are killed in the process of freezing but many will usually survive.

    How long can sperm be frozen?

    Sperm have been used successfully after being frozen for many years.

    What does it cost?

    Please ring us on 8345 3992 to check our current fees.

    What happens to frozen semen that isn't used?

    If you have informed us of an address change and have paid your annual storage fees, then any frozen semen will be kept until you are ready to decide what you want to do with it. It cannot be used for any other purpose without your permission.  Victoria Law states that sperm can be stored for ten years.  It is possible to seek an extension beyond ten years if necessary.

    Talking it over

    Talking it over can help to work through any concerns.  Counsellors are available through the Reproductive Services Unit at the The Royal Women's Hospital (Ph:8345 3200) or Melbourne IVF. An appointment can be made on 9473 4418.

    For cancer patients:

     

    The Anti-Cancer Council's Cancer Information Support Service line can provide you with information on cancer support services and on a wide range of topics related to your cancer. They also have trained counsellors available for brief telephone counselling. Phone 13 1120 Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 8:00 pm.