What is a sperm bank?
Sperm banks allow the freezing of sperm (cryopreservation) for reproductive use, so that it can later be used in assisted reproductive technologies.
The sperm belongs to patients who want to have children, for use in assisted reproduction with their female partners. The cryopreservation of sperm is advised, for example, in cases where there is low sperm quality, prior to beginning treatments that may impact on future fertility (chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery), where there are difficulties in obtaining a sperm sample or for other personal reasons.
Sperm donor bank
Held here are high quality sperm samples donated by young men in good health, anonymously and on a voluntary basis, for patients participating in assisted reproduction programmes. The use of donor sperm is advised when there is no sperm production in the man, or where production is very limited, for women who do not have a partner, or who have a female partner, in cases where the man is a carrier of a disease that can be transmitted to his offspring that it is not treatable using other assisted reproduction techniques, or where previous treatments have been unsuccessful.
What is sperm cryopreservation?
First of all, it is necessary to obtain signed and informed consent referring specifically to this particular procedure, and then to carry out a blood test to screen for HIV, hepatitis B and C, and syphilis. Subsequently the man will need to produce a sperm sample by means of masturbation which can then be frozen. Depending on the quality of the sperm in the sample, we will advise on the number of additional samples that will need to be provided in order to ensure that there is sufficient sperm available for cryopreservation.
For how long can sperm samples be stored in the patient bank?
Cryopreserved sperm can be stored throughout a man’s life. Under current legislation in the case of death it may be used for the purposes of assisted reproduction for a subsequent period of up to 12 months, as long as the man has given his consent by signing the initial consent document duly witnessed, in his will or by means of other valid documentation. Equally, the cryopreserved sperm samples can be destroyed at any point if the man so wishes, once a written request has been submitted to the sperm bank at Hospital Clínic.