Cryobank

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The AALC is Arizona’s only certified long-term storage Cryobank for human sperm, and is the official Cryobank of the Banner University of Arizona Medical Center and Cancer Centers. We are “Arizona’s Cancer Bank,” the only Cryobank in Arizona dedicated to sperm cryopreservation prior to cancer treatments and long-term storage of samples for all patients, not just those undergoing assisted reproductive technologies such as IVF.

 

Our staff is dedicated to andrology services for the general public; we don’t work with eggs or embryos, we are 100% focused on sperm, it is all we do here, and we are experts in our field. Our testing personnel are highly trained and have all worked many years in the reproductive medicine field, having seen thousands of patients from both the infertile and fertile populations.

 

We are proud to be partnered with the Livestrong Foundation and as such in many cases can offer discounted rates for cancer patients who wish to cryopreserve sperm prior to starting treatments.

Samples are stored in our secured facility, and of course being in Tucson the samples are safe from natural disasters such as hurricanes, tsunamis, tornados or earthquakes that in the past have been responsible for loss of samples due to structural damage.

 

Patients may need to bank or cryopreserve sperm for many reasons. Some of these include:

 

  • Prior to chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer treatment, that can render a man permanently sterile.

  • Prior to surgery that could potentially cause nerve damage that impairs fertility or anatomical function.

  • Before undergoing a vasectomy as “insurance” in case later circumstances arise in which the man desires the ability to have children again.

  • During a vasectomy reversal procedure to provide a back up in case results are less than optimal.

  • For men at risk to occupational exposure to chemicals or other environmental factors that can make a man sterile (ie. pesticides, heavy metals, radiation, extreme heat, magnetism).

  • Prior to military deployment to combat zones.

  • Prior to HRT or TRT treatment

 

AALC performs sperm cryopreservation to be used with sexually intimate partners only, for use in assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedures. If you are purchasing the donor sperm from an established donor sperm bank, you can store the samples here long or short term. If you are planning on using the samples soon after purchase we offer monthly storage options.

We do not accept any sperm donors or purchase any sperm from anyone, ever.

Questions? Comments? Don’t hesitate to call us! We are on call for you and here for you full-time. We look forward to hearing from you, whatever your fertility issues or questions might be.

Cryopreservation

 

Cryopreservation of semen, also known as freezing or banking, allows sperm to be preserved and stored at ultra-low temperatures for future fertility through assisted reproduction procedures. A complete semen analysis is performed to determine the quality of the specimen and the total number of motile sperm that are present. Based on the overall quality and number of motile sperm present, the semen sample is then mixed with specific volume of medias and divided into a calculated number of vials. These vials are then slowly cooled down to extremely low temperatures and stored in liquid nitrogen tanks. Cryopreserved semen can remain viable for numerous decades, thus preserving the fertility potential of the patient for many years.

 

Cryopreservation of sperm has several important applications:

 

  • Before a vasectomy – Provides the patient with the option of storing his sperm should future circumstances arise whereby fertility potential is desired

  • Before radiation or chemotherapy – Many types of cancer treatments can have the unfortunate side effect of leaving a man sterile. Cryopreservation of semen can preserve the sperm before there is any possible adverse fertility affect of the treatment.

  • Before certain surgeries – Some surgical procedures may adversely affect the nerves that contribute to normal erectile function, resulting in partial or complete impotence. Surgeries that involve any reproductive organ, such as prostate surgery, can also cause sterility. As with radiation/chemotherapy treatment, cryopreservation of semen can provide the patient with a measure of “fertility insurance” for future use.

  • During a vasectomy reversal procedure – While performing the reversal procedure, the surgeon may be able to aspirate viable (living) sperm or take a small biopsy of the testicular tissue containing viable sperm to be cryopreserved. In either case, these sperm can be cryopreserved to provide the patient with more future fertility options.

  • During a sperm retrieval procedure – For men undergoing sperm retrieval, cryopreservation can be done if the assisted reproduction procedure for which the sperm will be used is not until a later date. This way if there is not sufficient sperm retrieved for the procedure, back-up donor sperm can be purchased and ready.

  • Before an assisted reproductive technique – Having cryopreserved semen samples in storage provides a readily available source of viable sperm for a scheduled IUI (intrauterine insemination), IVF (in vitro fertilization), ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection – an advanced IVF technique), or other ART (assisted reproductive technology) procedures in case the male is unable or unavailable to provide a fresh semen sample on the day of the procedure.

  • Patients employed in high risk / occupational hazard areas – Many jobs expose men to potentially hazardous materials, chemicals, vapors, temperatures or other environmental factors that can have a negative impact on their fertility or overall health. Cryopreserving semen allows a man to maintain his fertility potential in the event that he later experiences subfertility or infertility. Similarly, men in the military may wish to cryopreserve semen before deployment to an active combat zone in case they sustain an injury that causes infertility.

  • Patients with low sperm counts – Several semen samples can be cryopreserved and then “pooled together” to achieve an acceptable number of motile sperm for an IUI (intrauterine insemination) that is a much less expensive and less invasive option than IVF, ICSI or other ART procedures.

  • Before undergoing HRT or TRT treatments - while undergoing hormone replacement therapy or testosterone replacement therapy fertility will be impacted. Cryopreserving prior to treatments will provide options for the future.

 

 

Types of Sperm Donation

 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees the cryopreservation and use of all human cellular/tissue products, which includes sperm and eggs. The purpose of this oversight is to ensure that proper screening and testing is being performed to prevent the spread of communicable and sexually-trasmitted diseases, viruses, bacteria and fungi. For some types of donors, genetic testing is also required to ensure the offspring being created do not inherit any rare genetic diseases. There are three classifications of donors.

 

Sexually intimate partners – This is when sperm is frozen or harvested for use with a female partner in a sexually intimate couple. This process requires the least amount of testing as it is assumed that any communicable diseases are already shared between the couple. For sexually intimate partners no genetic screening or communicable disease screening is required.

 

Directed donors – This is when sperm is given to a couple to use by someone that the couple knows. This is often a close friend or family member. This type of donation is common in couples that have male factor infertility or for same-sex couples. This level of donor requires communicable disease testing. This battery of tests covers: HIV type 1, HIV type 2, combination HIV, HBsAG, anti-HBc – IgG, anti-HBc – IgM, HCV, Treponema pallidum (syphilis), Human T-lymphotropic virus I and II, cytomegalovirus, Chlamydia trachomatis and Nesisseria gonorrhea. These tests must be performed in a CLIA approved laboratory. This battery of tests only needs to be performed once for directed donors.

 

Anonymous donors – This is the strictest category of donor and involves the using of sperm to create offspring that is provided by an unknown, anonymous donor. Anonymous donor sperm can be purchased by a facility that screens and hires donors, such as California Cryobank or Fairfax Cryobank. Anonymous donors must undergo the same battery of communicable disease testing as directed donors, but then must also re-test after a 9-month period. Most facilities that sell donor sperm also put donors through rigorous genetic screening and will only select individuals to be donors who are free of all genetic mutations and who do not have diseases/ailments in their family tree. A complete family history and a physical are thus also prerequisites for most donors. Furthermore, donors must fit specific physical and academic guidelines as determined by each individual establishment. Many of these guidelines relate to a minimum level of education (at least a bachelor’s degree) and a height minimum (above 5’9”).

 

What types of donors does AALC work with?

We are certified to process/cryopreserve sperm for sexually intimate couples only, due to the lack of required testing. We can do intrauterine inseminations (IUI’s) for couples using donor sperm that is purchased from a reputable facility, as the facility has already performed the eligibility testing and deemed the donor as eligible. We are unable to process or perform IUI’s on couples using directed donor sperm.