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How Do Sperm Banks Work?

Considering banking your sperm? Professor Allan Pacey explains when it is a good idea to freeze your sperm and how the process works.

 

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Transcript

0:02 Some men are often offered the opportunity to bank their sperm either
0:07 because they are about to face a medical procedure where there's a risk of
0:12 subsequent infertility and that's usually before a cancer treatment or
0:17 another medical treatment where the drugs can damage the testicles or you
0:21 might be offered the opportunity to bank sperm because maybe you're in an
0:25 occupation or you're about to undertake a risk of accidental damage to your
0:30 testicles. What I'm thinking about there are men who were in high-risk
0:34 occupations such as firemen and policemen or maybe somebody in the armed forces
0:39 whatever the reason and banking sperm is relatively straightforward.
0:44 You would need a referral from a medical professional and you would need to go to
0:49 the local sperm bank and produce your samples on site so that they can freeze
0:55 them in liquid nitrogen as quickly as possible.
0:58 Sperm banking is highly regulated by the law
1:02 so you will need to sign consent forms, quite a lot of consent forms, we will
1:07 also need to take a sample of blood from you to screen you for what we call
1:12 blood-borne viruses, things like HIV or hepatitis.
1:16 We need to make sure that you don't have those viruses in your blood
1:21 if your samples are going to go into a tank alongside those from other men who
1:25 we also know are negative. If you do have one of those viruses
1:28 then there are a number of specialised facilities around the country that can
1:32 bank them but it may mean
1:35 you going somewhere else because not every centre is set up for freezing
1:39 sperm from men with viruses in their blood.
1:42 What's important about the sperm banking processes that you have to keep in
1:46 contact with the sperm bank at regular intervals
1:50 this is to update your consent or to make sure that you are still eligible
1:55 for your sperm to be kept
1:57 because sperm banking is regulated by law.
2:01 You have to renew your consent every 10 years and you can only keep
2:06 your sperm bank for 55 years in total
2:09 but it's important that in order to have that option that you keep in contact
2:13 with the sperm banks so they can make sure that the consent and the paperwork is in order.