Costs and considerations for cryogenically freezing sperm
The cost to freeze sperm cryogenically depends on the reasons for the cryopreservation (freezing). If you intend to donate the frozen sperm, you will not have any costs. If you plan to freeze sperm for your own future fertility options, you will have a few associated costs. In general, however, freezing sperm is relatively inexpensive and easy to do. In this article, we’ll cover the different reasons to freeze sperm, the process, and what to expect from sperm freezing costs.
Two Options for Sperm Freezing: Donation and Fertility Preservation
In general, people either freeze their sperm to donate or to save for future fertility treatments. Donated sperm usually goes to a donor sperm bank, which freezes and stores the sperm samples for intended parents to use in fertility treatments. Sperm frozen for individual use is usually cryopreserved and stored at a fertility clinic.
Freezing Donor Sperm
As a sperm donor, you do not pay for any costs involved with screening, testing, freezing, or thawing the donated sperm sample. All the expenses are paid for by either the donor sperm bank or the intended parents, depending on your donation situation. All donor sperm must be tested for infectious diseases, frozen and quarantined for six months, and then tested again. In addition, all potential sperm donors go through a medical and psychological screening process to ensure they fully qualify. Intended parents who are unable to provide healthy sperm on their own can purchase donor sperm to conceive. As donors provide a generous service, they do not have to pay any associated costs to donate or freeze the sperm.
Does Insurance Cover the Cost of Freezing Sperm for Fertility Preservation?
On the other hand, individuals with sperm may choose to freeze their sperm as part of their future fertility goals. This process of freezing healthy reproductive tissue to improve the chances of conceiving later on is called fertility preservation. As fertility preservation is for personal use, patients who choose this option will cover the related costs themselves. In some cases, but not all, health insurance companies will cover the costs of fertility preservation. Fortunately, it is comparatively simple and low-cost to freeze sperm, regardless of insurance coverage.
Patients pursue sperm cryopreservation for many reasons. These often include:
Some treatments for illnesses such as cancer can negatively affect the reproductive system. Chemotherapy and radiation, depending on the location and length of treatment, can permanently damage sperm quality, quantity, and production, making it difficult or impossible to conceive naturally after treatment. For this reason, patients who have received a recent cancer diagnosis may choose to freeze their sperm before going through treatment. In these situations, health insurance may cover the costs of freezing sperm.
Gender affirming treatment
Trans, gender non-conforming, and nonbinary (TGNB) individuals with sperm may consider fertility preservation before pursuing gender affirming treatment such as hormone therapy or surgery. Limited data suggests that estrogen therapy may cause permanent effects on sperm production, even after stopping. We encourage TGNB individuals who are interested in gender affirming therapy and parenthood to consult a fertility specialist regarding their options. Unfortunately, insurance providers may not cover the costs to freeze sperm in these instances.
Individuals with potentially dangerous work environments, such as those in the military or who work with hazardous chemicals, may choose to freeze sperm as a precaution. Insurance sometimes covers fertility preservation in cases of upcoming active deployment or other hazardous environments.
Effects of age on sperm
Sperm motility (movement), quantity, and quality can all decrease with age. While the decrease is less dramatic than the effect of age on egg production, it still can make it harder to conceive later in life. Freezing healthy sperm at a younger age may offer more options in the future for patients who wish to delay family building.
How Much Does Freezing Sperm Cost?
If you do not have health insurance or your health insurance will not cover your sperm freezing costs, you will need to pay those expenses yourself. However, sperm freezing has some of the lowest costs of any fertility procedure.
In general, the expenses related to cryogenically freezing your sperm include:
- Initial consultation
- Sample collection & analysis
While exact costs range between facilities, it typically costs under $1,000 to freeze sperm. Storage fees may be a few hundred dollars per year until you are ready to use the cryopreserved sperm. Your clinic may offer a year of storage in their initial freezing cost.
Actually using the frozen sperm when you are ready to try for children will have additional costs. These vary depending on the treatment used. For instance, a cycle of intrauterine insemination (IUI) may only cost a few hundred dollars. A cycle of in vitro fertilization (IVF), however, might start at ten thousand dollars. Be sure to discuss future treatment options with your provider so you have a complete understanding of the financial aspects involved.
Affordable Sperm Freezing at PNWF
Our Center for Fertility Preservation offers a full range of cryopreservation options, including sperm freezing. In general, sperm freezing tends to be comparatively low cost and accessible for many patients. The first step is an initial consultation with one of our fertility specialists – schedule yours today.