What is the cryopreservation of sperm?

Cryopreservation of sperm is a process that keeps sperm samples for future use. The samples are stored at very low temperatures (-196 ° C). This method of storage allows sperm preservation for several years. Men can use cryopreservation of semen for a variety of reasons.

Before chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery that may affect fertility

Over the past decade, the survival rate of cancer patients has increased dramatically. Some of them may even resume a normal life, which often includes the desire for paternity.

Before having a vasectomy

Men who are considering having a vasectomy may want to investigate the possibility of cryopreservation of sperm. Some vasectomies are irreversible and the percentage of pregnancies remains low after vasovasostomy. In addition, after a vasectomy, many men develop anti-sperm antibodies that can affect their ability to father a child. For all these reasons, men who are considering vasectomy should also think about the cryopreservation of their sperm in order to preserve the possibility of having a child in the future, despite their infertility.

Before artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization

It is possible for the spouse of a patient enrolled in in vitro fertilization treatment or artificial insemination to keep his sperm in the bank in case he could not produce a sperm sample on the day of treatment. In fact, for some spouses, simply knowing that they have sperm in reserve greatly reduces the stress that can be caused by the fear of not being able to produce the sample at the appropriate time.

The technique

Sperm is first collected and analyzed. It is then treated and put into flakes (small plastic tubes) of 0.5 ml. Each straw is identified with the name of the man, the date of freezing and its unique identifier number (assigned at the first meeting). The samples are stored in a cryogenic container filled with liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196 ° C. Sperm samples can be stored in this way for several years. To improve the chances of forming a suitable bank, humans should produce 3-4 sperm samples (on average). An abstinence period of 2 to 5 days between each sample is mandatory. It is therefore essential to start as soon as possible when chemotherapy, radiotherapy, vasectomy or hormonal treatments that may affect fertility are planned.

In general, spermatozoa are resistant to the process of cryopreservation, especially when the quality of the sperm sample is “very good” initially. Sperm freezing can be done with ejaculated sperm as well as spermatozoa collected from the male genital tract.


On average, 4 visits are required to complete your personal sperm bank.

First appointement:

  • Opening the file
  • Signing consent forms
  • Blood collection for HIV, hepatitis B , hepatitis C and syphilis . If these analyzes have already been done in the last year, you must bring a copy of your results.
  • Freeze a first semen sample if blood test results are available
  • Date of the next appointment

If sperm freezing is urgent (due to chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery to be performed in the next few days), and no blood test results are available, we can still start freezing sperm at the first appointment. In this situation, the blood test should be done in a Procrea Fertility clinic.

For more information on sperm freezing or to make an appointment, please contact the Cryopreservation Center directly:

Mont-Royal :
Tel.: 514-345-8535
Toll free: 1 888 PROCREA

Quebec :
Tel.: 418-260-9555
Toll free: 1 877 PROCREA

Associated content