Sperm storage

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Some chemotherapy treatment causes infertility by reducing the number and effectiveness of the sperms produced in the testes This may be temporary or permanent, depending on the drugs you are having.

It is possible to store (bank) sperm in a special fridge for up to 25 years for later use should your fertility not fully recover after treatment.

After discussion with your doctor,  an appointment will be made for you at a fertility clinic. There should be one in every area so if this has not been mentioned to you - ask. For example in the Cambridge and Bedford Area, the clinic is called The Bourn Hall Clinic. 

Not all patients are suitable for sperm storage - For example, sometimes chemotherapy has to be give quickly, the disease my have impaired the ability to get and erection or ejaculate. If you are eligible, you should not have been sexual activity for 48 hours before attending the clinic. On your first visit, you will have a consultation with a member of the medical and nursing staff to discuss semen collection, preservation and retrieval in the future.

At your first and following visits, you will be asked to produce semen samples over a period of around two weeks. These will be analysed, frozen and stored. In the future these samples could be thawed and used to inseminate your partner artificially.

When you arrive at Bourn Hall, you should report to the main reception. After your consultation, a number of tests are performed as routine including hepatitis B and HIV in all cases, you will be asked to produce your first semen sample, for which you are given complete privacy. Magazines and video films are usually made available and your partner may accompany you.

At present the consultation and each year of storage of your semen are paid for by your health authority, but it would be necessary for you to pay privately for the sperm to be used by artificial insemination or in-vitro fertilization treatment. We hope this may change in the future.

Further general information Your doctors and specialist nurses are in an ideal position to give you relevant information on your disease and treatment as they know your individual circumstances. Cancerbackup has a help line (0808 800 1234) and a prize winning video available in English, Italian, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati & Hindi explaining Radiotherapy & Chemotherapy. Cancernet.co.uk has over 500 pages describing cancer, its management, practical tips and tool which patients, their carers and their doctors have found helpful during the cancer journey.


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