How do I bank sperm for later use?
October 19, 2012 12:04 PM   Subscribe

How do I bank my sperm for potential future parenting desires?

I'm 37 years old, single, in excellent health. Even though most of my friends are paired up and procreating, I haven't felt any particular desire to do so. I'm still living like I'm ten years younger.

There is a small possibility I might want to be a father in the future. Researchers now say guys have their own biological clocks. Our sperm ages as much as women's eggs do. I was thinking about banking some sperm just in case.

I have some extra cash, and my employer has a health spending account, so I thought I might do this. Has anyone done this before? What have been your experiences? Where did you go, how did you pick the place, how much did it cost, is there anything you'd do differently? And best of all, have you, or do you know anyone, who's made use of this banked sperm?

posted by Borborygmus to Health & Fitness (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
There are many sperm banks and since they all have inventory, they have all had "depositors." Contact a few and find out the procedure for storing exclusively for your own future use.. There are many reasons men might want to be depositors; although often there is a desire to be an anonymous donor to a woman who is either gay, or unattached and nearing the end of viable reproductive years, or whose husband/partner is infertile, there are also reasons for banking one's sperm for future use with your own partner. Many men who are undergoing cancer treatments or other sperm-averse medical treatments will bank sperm, for instance.

You are not really correct about men's sperm "aging much as women's eggs" though. A female is born with all the eggs she will ever have; a 45-year-old woman literally has 45-year-old eggs. Men produce new sperm all the time. It is however true that the sperm that older men produce may not be as healthy or as likely to result in pregnancy as a younger man's.
posted by RRgal at 12:58 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I know several men who have done this, usually before going through radiation or some other medical procedure that might threaten future fertility. They have gone on to have healthy children via IUI and IVF. That said, if I had, say, a 47 year old healthy partner who had banked sperm at 37 and we were trying to conceive, I'm not sure I'd choose the additional efforts and expense to conceive with that younger sperm that had been frozen for ten years.
posted by judith at 1:45 PM on October 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

It is however true that the sperm that older men produce may not be as healthy or as likely to result in pregnancy as a younger man's.

There's growing evidence that the father's age could be linked to autism, schizophrenia and other disorders.

Here's some info on banking your own sperm [PDF]. This lab charges about $320 a year to bank your own sperm.

I know someone who did this, and chose to bank at two different labs, in case of catastrophic failure of freezers or the company going under.

You might want to double check that banking your sperm is covered under the health spending account rules. It looks like some rules require the banking to be immediately necessary for an approved medical reason, not just for future banking/need possibilities. If it matters to you whether or not it's covered, I'd triple check that the fees can be covered under the regulations.
posted by barnone at 2:36 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Not to derail, but there is some evidence that women do, in fact, continue to produce new eggs throughout adulthood.

Sperm storage is definitely a thing that exists, though usually as judith said, for men who are undergoing radiation treatment or some other immediate threat to fertility. The price list is, you know, not crazy expensive... on the order of a few hundred dollars to set up and then a few hundred dollars a year to store (at least according to that one place.)

Looks like with insurance covering, the cost of IUI to use that banked sperm is on the order of $500 or so. I wonder if insurance would cover IUI or IVF with no proven record of infertility; I sort of doubt it? In which case you might be talking thousands of dollars, instead. The average success rate for IUI is 10-20% (though that will admittedly include a massive pool of people who are having other fertility problems) and most doctors will put the woman on a fertility-enhancing drug such as Clomid, which is not without risks to her health.

While you're right about the risks having an older father poses to the child, the research I'm finding says it's basically drowned out by the risk of having an older mother. A lot of money and bother for mitigating a risk that may not even be that high. I wouldn't bother, personally, but of course everyone's risk tolerance is different.
posted by Andrhia at 2:37 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

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