• What Is A Sperm Bank?
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Assisted Reproductive Technology
|Other names: Semen banks, tissue banks and sperm cryopreservation. Cryopreservation is a techie term for freezing.
A sperm bank is a laboratory that freezes and stores human sperm. Sperm banks store sperm samples both from sperm donors and men who wish to preserve their fertility. Sperm donors receive a fee for their deposits and those deposits are screened and sold onto infertile couples or single people who wish to become pregnant. Other types of donors are men who wish to preserve their fertility before a medical treatment such as cancer therapy or vasectomy. These donors pay the sperm bank an annual storage fee. In America, sperm banks are regulated by the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB). Sperm banking has been around for decades, the longest established bank is Cryogenic Laboratories.
While vasectomy is still considered a long-term method of birth control for men, some men change their mind after the procedure and want more children. So what are their options?
Although Lance Armstrong is no longer the darling of the media he once was, there is one thing he got right. When he was diagnosed with cancer he immediately went to a sperm bank and made several sperm deposits. By freezing his semen he was able to have children later with the help of fertility treatments. Cancer treatments like radiation therapy and chemotherapy are toxic to sperm production and carry the risk of temporary and permanent male infertility. It is not possible to predict who will be left temporarily infertile and who will be left permanently sterile. In addition, certain types of cancers can interfere with sperm production (technically known as spermatogenesis). These include testicular cancer, prostate cancer, lymphoma and Hodgkin’s, leukemia and any childhood cancer that requires cancer treatment before puberty. Studies show that cancer and cancer treatments can affect sperm production for at least 2 years after treatment and can also lead to miscarriage, stillbirth and birth defects.
Most sperm banks offer a reduced rate for military personnel before they are deployed. This helps preserve the fertility of soldiers who are risk of possible injuries to the groin or reproductive organs; as well as infertility due to exposure to hazardous chemicals and extreme heat. It also offers the possibility of pregnancy with their partner through artificial insemination, IVF or other fertility treatment techniques if they are away for extended periods of service.
Sperm can be frozen for many years; successful pregnancies have been achieved from sperm which was frozen for 20 years.
Average costs broke down as follows:
Other Procedures Offered By Sperm Banks
Embryo Freezing: Embryos produced by IVF are frozen until needed. Unneeded embryos may be donated to an embryo donation program.
The National Sperm Bank Directory has a list of sperm banks that specialize in the collection and storage of sperm.
Sperm Banks In America
The following are just a few of the sperm banking facilities in the U.S.:
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