Sperm Banking

Arrow In this section

The Andrology Laboratory in the Department of Reproductive Medicine provides a service of long term semen storage for premature infertility for up to 55 years. This service is regulated and licensed by the UK statutory body, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

Patients eligible for this service are those whose treatment or disease is likely to make them prematurely infertile and the requesting clinician is required to sign a declaration stating that impairment to fertility is likely.

Important information regarding referrals for sperm banking

  • Patients referred for sperm banking must be medically fit enough to undertake masturbation for sperm collection.
  • Negative screening results (within the preceding 3 months) for HIV 1 & 2, Hepatitis B surface antigen and core antibody, and Hepatitis C antibody must be received by Andrology before a referral for sperm banking is undertaken.
  • HTLV 1 and 2 antibody screening is required for patients living in or originating from high prevalence areas or with sexual partners originating from those areas or where the patient’s parents originate from those areas.
  • A signature from a registered medical practitioner, stating that the diagnosis of the patient may impair his fertility, is required by Andrology before sperm banking can be undertaken.
  • Patients’ abstinence from sexual activity should be 2-7 days for sperm storage.
  • Patients should be referred directly to Andrology for sperm banking before facing imminent sterile inducing treatments (e.g. chemotherapy/radiotherapy). There is evidence that the quality of semen in patients with active disease can decline over very short periods of time.

Patients under 16 years of age

Where patients are very young (under 16 years) the referring clinician is required to certify that the patient is pubertal, understands how they have to produce a semen sample by masturbation and that they will be able to understand the HFEA consent forms, i.e. that they are ‘Gillick competent’.

There is a DVD available from the Teenage Cancer Trust entitled ‘Whack to the Future’ that will give him information about sperm banking before he attends the department (www.teenagecancertrust.org) or it can be viewed on line.

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust cannot be held liable for the contents of external websites.

Hospital in-patients who are well enough to attend Andrology

Only morning appointments are available.

Inpatients must have a suitable escort to and from their sperm banking appointment. The referring hospital must perform their own risk assessment of the patients’ fitness to travel by taxi/ambulance and make appropriate arrangements for the transfer of the patient to and from Andrology. A fitness to travel form (available from Andrology) should be completed and signed by the referring hospital and sent to Andrology by email with the referral form.

Referral instructions

Ensure the patient has negative screening results within the last 3 months for the following:

  • HIV (Anti HIV-1, 2), Hepatitis B (HBsAg AND Anti-HBc), Hep C (Anti HCV-Ab).

HTLV 1 and 2 antibody screening is required for patients living in or originating from high prevalence areas or with sexual partners originating from those areas or where the patient’s parents originate from those areas.

Sperm cannot be banked for patients that test positive for the Zika virus. Please check if patients have visited a Zika virus affected area in the 3 months prior to sperm banking and arrange for a blood test prior to referral if the patient has visited one of these areas. You can find more information on the Zika virus here.

Instructions for referral :

1  Email the patient’s viral screening results to Andrology.lab@mft.nhs.uk

2. An up to date referral proforma (FRM/DRM/AND/029) will then be emailed back to you to complete.

3. Ensure that a registered medical practitioner has signed the confirmation of Gillick competence of patients who are under 16 years of age.

4. Ensure that a registered medical practitioner has signed the premature infertility declaration for all patients.

5. In-patients – complete a fitness to travel risk assessment (FRM/DRM/AND/282) if not travelling to Andrology with a registered nurse.

6. Email Andrology.lab@mft.nhs.uk the completed and signed referral proforma (FRM/DRM/AND/029), and the inpatient fitness to travel risk assessment (FRM/DRM/AND/282), if required.

7. The referral will then be triaged and the patient booked into a clinic appointment.

8. A medical secretary will contact the patient with the time and date of their appointment.

What to tell the patient

  • Tell the patient that if they need any more information about the service, they can phone us on (0161) 276 6473 or search for Andrology on the Trust website. Directions, travel options and car parking (on Hathersage Road) can be found on the Getting Here page.
  • 2 – 7 days abstinence from sexual activity is preferable for sperm storage.
  • They need to ask for Department of Reproductive Medicine on Oxford Road, not Saint Mary’s Hospital.

Sperm banking information for patients

Sperm storage is provided as a free service to NHS patients where fertility might be impaired by a medical condition, or as a side effect of treatment. Some forms of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgical therapy can lead to infertility that may be temporary or permanent. This is known as ‘premature infertility’. A charge for this service is made to fee paying patients.

Before any of these therapies are carried out, it is possible to store sperm using a freezing process known as “cryopreservation”. These samples can be used (after thawing) to overcome possible sterility caused by the above treatments using procedures such as Artificial Insemination, In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) or Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI).

The Andrology Laboratory in the Department of Reproductive Medicine provides a service of long term semen storage for premature infertility for up to 55 years. This service is regulated and licensed by the UK statutory body, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

Your clinician will refer you for long term sperm storage when they have confirmed the possibility of premature infertility. They will have arranged viral screening blood tests before referring you to Andrology. These need to be negative in the last three months for :

  • Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
  • Human T-cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV).
  • HTLV 1 and 2 antibody screening is required for patients living in or originating from high prevalence areas or with sexual partners originating from those areas or where the patient’s parents originate from those areas.

Zika virus

Sperm cannot be banked for patients that test positive for the Zika virus. Please tell your clinician if you have visited a Zika virus affected area in the 3 months prior to sperm banking and they will arrange for a blood test prior to referral if you have visited one of these areas. You can find more information on the Zika virus here.

For information on Zika virus screening you can contact clinical virology for advice on (0161) 276 8854/ 8788

Appointments

Appointments are usually made quickly (often the next working day). This gives you the best chance to store as much of your sperm as possible, before your treatment starts. There is an information booklet for patients : Long Term Sperm Storage, which can be found in the patient library section of our website. You can bring someone to accompany you to the appointment but you will be seen alone if you prefer.

Location of Andrology

You will need to ask for the Andrology Laboratory in the Department of Reproductive Medicine. We are in the Old Saint Mary’s Hospital building on the corner of Oxford Road and Hathersage Road. Directions, travel options and car parking (on Hathersage Road) can be found on the Getting Here page located on the Saint Mary’s Hospital home page. If you are using a Sat Nav then enter the post code M13 0JH.

HFEA consent forms

There are statutory (legal) regulations regarding the freezing and storing of sperm. The Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA) requires the patient’s consent in writing prior to sperm storage. The patient will need to consider :

  • How long their sperm should be stored for.
  • If to name a partner to be able to use sperm in assisted conception.
  • What will happen to the stored sperm if they died or became mentally incapacitated.
  • What will happen to the stored sperm if it is not used in assisted conception.

The patient is free to withdraw or vary the terms of their consent at any time, unless the sperm has already been used. You will need to attend Andrology to complete the legal HFEA consent forms before sperm banking is undertaken. There is an information booklet for patients : Consent Giving, which can be found in the patient library section on the home page of our website.

Semen sample production

On the day of your appointment you will be asked to produce a semen sample, in one of our private rooms, by masturbation. 2 – 7 days abstinence from sexual activity is preferable for sperm storage. There are some pornographic magazines available in the rooms but we do not have any pornographic DVDs or internet access. You may bring your own material with you to the appointment if you wish.

Examination of semen sample

Your semen sample will be examined for the presence of motile sperm. Freezing takes place as soon as possible after the sample is passed, so it is better if the sample is produced on the premises. It will then be stored in ampoules (small sealed bottles), in liquid nitrogen vapour. The ampoules are labelled with your full name, date of birth, reference number and the date of storage. You will be informed if your sample is suitable for freezing and the number of ampoules stored. You can wait for this information if you wish (it will take approximately 20 – 30 minutes). Depending on when your treatment starts you can store more samples if you wish.

Semen analysis check after completion of treatment

You may wish to check whether your treatment has affected your fertility. Some patients recover their fertility after treatment, and if you want a sperm count at any time after banking, please telephone (0161) 276 6473 for an appointment. Please allow six months to elapse from completion of your chemotherapy/radiotherapy.

Change in circumstances

It is important to keep us informed of any change in your circumstances e.g. change of address, change of partner. This is in case we have to notify you of any changes in regulations. We will contact you every 10 years to review if you need to keep your samples in long term storage. If your premature infertility diagnosis remains, you can continue to store your samples for up to 55 years. We will try to contact you 1 year and also 3 months before the end of the statutory storage period. If we have no contact from you, your samples will be destroyed when they reach the end of their statutory storage period.

Sperm banking information for under 16’s

The DVD ‘Whack to the Future’ from the Teenage Cancer Trust is designed specifically for under 16’s. It entails a cartoon story encompassing the reasons and implications of storing sperm. It is advisable to watch the DVD prior to consultation with Andrology, so that you have a deeper understanding of what the process entails and why it is recommended. (www.teenagecancertrust.org).

Queries

If you need any more information about the service, you can phone us on (0161) 276 6473.