What is a semen bank?
The aim of a semen bank is the cryopreservation (freezing) of spermatozoids for later use in assisted reproduction techniques, that is, spermatozoids will not be used immediately, but later than the ejaculation.
Who is a candidate for cryopreserving semen?
The spermatozoids may be from anonymous donors who fulfill the selection criteria of the current legislation. They may also be males who request the cryopreservation of their own spermatozoid because of personal and psychological reasons or medical indications, as in patients who are about to undergo treatments who compromise their future fertility, such as chemo or radiotherapy.
In vitro fertilisation treatments, semen must be available at the same time in which the ovules of the partner are to be extracted. Previous cryopreservation of the semen may be carried out if they cannot be obtained on the same day due to displacement problems, laboral commitments, psychological problems -derived from the anxiety that semen collection provokes at a precise time- or for other different reasons.
Some males who wish to undergo vasectomy may also request seminal cryopreservation.
How long can ones own semen be cryopreserved?
Frozen semen samples do not have an expiry date to their use, that is, their quality does not deteriorate over time. However, patients are legally obliged to communicate their wish to continue maintaining the samples to the semen bank and, if necessary, to cover the costs derived from their storage.
In case of the male’s death, the cryopreserved samples must be destroyed, except if the patient has transferred these to a determined person with a legal document signed by a notary for their use in assisted reproduction techniques. This person will have up to two months for their use. Once this time has passed, they cannot be used and the remaining spermatozoids will be destroyed.
When is it necessary to use donor semen?
Semen donation is necessary in sterile couples due to an extreme masculine factor, as well as in couples in which there is a high risk of paternal hereditary disease transmission and in cases of women who wish to have children without a male partner. In addition to the donation, it is necessary to undergo assisted reproduction techniques such as an artificial insemination or an vitro fertilisation cycle.