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What is a Sperm Bank ( or Cryobank)?

The role of a sperm bank (or cryobank) is to store a man's healthy sperm in a viable state for a long period of time. By way of example, a baby was conceived in the UK after 22 years, [Source].; The longest-known storage period for sperm resulting in a live birth worldwide is 28 years, according to a 2005 data report in the American journal Fertility and Sterility [Source].

The sperm bank stores the sperm in small vials or straws inside one or more liquid nitrogen tanks. The liquid nitrogen's extremely cold temperature (-321 F or -196 C ) [Source] cryogenically preserves the sperm. Sperm banking enables the sperm to remain viable for a long period of time. Though some believe there should be an upper limit on how long frozen sperm can be stored, in one documented case, a baby was conceived in the UK after 22 years.

In order to ensure the fewest possible sperm are damaged, the freezing is gradual. This is part of the cryopreservation process. The test tubes are gradually frozen in liquid nitrogen vapor, letting the sperm freeze slowly. After 30 to 60 minutes, they are transferred into liquid nitrogen tanks for permanent frozen storage.

The cryopreservation (sperm freezing) is usually provided by a fertility clinic / freezing center. The long term storage of the sperm requires moving it to a storage center.
For those who are unable to come to a clinic, it is possible to provide the ejaculate sample at home and then courier (overnight) it, using a "sperm banking by mail kit". Some men may feel the kit is simpler and less invasive upon their privacy.

Sperm Bank Cost

sperm banking Sperm banking is generally not covered by insurance, so the cost cannot be reimbursed. Private laboratories, hospitals and university medical centers provide the cryopreservation services. The cost for sperm freezing will vary due to the number of specimens banked and the charges for the blood testing. Generally, the freezing will be completed for less than $1000. Sperm bank storage fees also vary, depending on the storage facility, but are generally in the $275-$500 per year range. Shipping costs may also apply. Some sperm bank facilities may offer financial assistance programs.

Sperm Bank Accreditation

Choosing a sperm bank is very important. This requires scrutinizing the accreditation of the sperm bank and laboratory. If you can't count on their quality and medical integrity, then the cost and convenience is of little importance.

Check that the laboratory is recognized for professional and regulatory standards, inspections and certifications. These may include CAP (College of American Pathologists) CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act), COLA (Commission on Office Laboratory Accreditation), AATB (American Association of Tissue Banks), the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration) and other organizations.

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