At Guy’s and St Thomas’ Specialist Care we offer cryopreservation (freezing and thawing) options that give you flexibility over deciding when starting parenthood is right for you.

There are many reasons why you may want to consider sperm freezing, from age and lifestyle choices to medical diagnosis.

Our compassionate fertility team is here to answer your questions and provide you with the support you need throughout your fertility journey. If you’re considering freezing your sperm, get in touch.

What is sperm freezing?

Sperm freezing is a type of male fertility preservation that involves freezing and storing your sperm for use at a later date.

Your chosen hospital or clinic will store your frozen sperm for a specified amount of time until you’re ready for it to be thawed.

At this point, your thawed sperm can then be used in fertility treatments like in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI). It can also be used for multiple pregnancies, giving you the option to have more than one child in the future should you so wish.

Why would you freeze your sperm?

There are many reasons why you might want to consider freezing your sperm. Some of the most common include:

  • you’re not sure if you want to have children right now but may decide to in the future
  • you have a health condition that impacts your fertility
  • you’re about to undergo medical treatment that can reduce your fertility
  • you’re transgender and plan on undergoing hormone replacement therapy or gender-affirming surgery
  • you plan on having a vasectomy but want a safety net in case you change your mind
  • you have a deteriorating count and quality of sperm
  • you’re at risk of sudden injury or passing away due to the nature of your work (i.e. you work in the armed forces)

Even if you do not fit into any of these categories, you can still freeze your sperm – the choice is entirely yours and there are all sorts of reasons for doing so.

How does sperm freezing work?

The first step in sperm freezing is to be tested for infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis. The results you get will not impact your ability to freeze your sperm. It simply means your sperm will be frozen and stored separately to avoid cross-contamination.

Next, you’ll need to give your full written permission for your sperm to be stored and decide how long you want it to be stored. Once the testing and paperwork have been completed, you’ll need to produce a fresh sperm sample at the hospital.

Your sperm sample is then mixed with a cryoprotectant to prevent damage occurring during the freezing process. After this step, your sperm sample will be divided into several different containers (also known as straws). This means that you do not need to have the entire sample thawed when you want to start a family.

Finally, the samples are slowly cooled down and put into liquid nitrogen to completely freeze them. The frozen samples are then stored in a temperature-controlled freezer until you’re ready to use them.

Success rates

Fertility treatments carried out with frozen sperm have proven to be just as successful as those carried out using fresh sperm. In fact, studies have shown that the survival rate for frozen sperm is around 85%.

One study even found that your chances of pregnancy with IVF and frozen sperm are no less than if you had used fresh sperm.

However, It’s important to remember that the quality and quantity of your sperm will impact your success rates. That’s why it’s so important to choose a hospital you can trust.

Here at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Specialist Care, our proficient team will treat your samples with the care and respect they deserve to give you the best chance of success in the future.

Sperm freezing and storage FAQs

To help you understand the process of sperm freezing and storage, here are some of the questions we most commonly get asked by patients. 

Sperm can be frozen for up to 55 years. However, at every 10-year interval, you’ll also need to renew your consent, so it’s important to keep your contact details up to date to ensure you receive the renewed consent documents on time. If you do not provide your consent when needed, lawfully your sperm can no longer be stored.

You need to give your full consent to the freezing and storing of your sperm sample. This will be received through a form provided to you by the fertility specialist before your sample is collected. you’ll also need to make preparations for what happens to your sperm if you pass away or become unable to make decisions for yourself. 

If you do not end up using your sperm or you have some straws left over, you can either:

  • request for your remaining straws to be destroyed
  • donate them for use in medical research
  • donate your samples for someone else to use in their fertility treatment as a sperm donor

Freezing your sperm is extremely safe and you’re not at any risk when undergoing the simple process.

Not every single sperm in a straw will survive the thawing process. However, on average, at least 85% of the sperm in each sample will survive – depending on how long it has been stored. 

Sperm stored for longer than 15 years has a slightly decreased survival rate of around 73%.

Your sperm itself won’t be tested but you’ll undergo tests for hepatitis and HIV before providing a sperm sample. Even if your results are positive, you can still freeze and store your sperm. It will just be processed separately to avoid contaminating other samples. 

Your frozen sperm samples will be thawed and can be used in: 

Fertility pricing update

Our price lists will be updated from June 2024. Existing signed treatment cards issued by the clinical team will be honoured for 90 days from issue date.

Sperm freezing and storage price list

Explore our prices for sperm freezing and storage below.

Our prices are reviewed regularly. Quotes are valid for a period of 90 days post offer – treatment must be paid in full and commenced in this timeframe.

Please refer to our other price lists for further treatment options, including the use of a donor treatments and surrogacy.

Personalised care price: £500

What is included:

  • sperm preparation
  • sample freezing
  • up to 12 months of storage.

Personalised care price: £1,900

What is included:

  • a referral for fertility counselling
  • anaesthetic fees
  • sperm preparation and freezing
  • up to 12 months of storage.

Personalised care price: £350

Payable per annum for storage, non-refundable.

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