Egg, Sperm & Embryo Storage

On this page:

  1. Storage For Eggs, Sperm And Embryos– So They’re Ready When You Are.
  2. Why Store Your Eggs, Sperm Or Embryos?
  3. The Storage Process.
  4. The Egg And Embryo Freezing And Storage Process.
  5. The Sperm Freezing And Storage Process.
  6. How Long Can Eggs, Sperm And Embryos Be Stored?
  7. Find Out More.

Storage For Eggs, Sperm And Embryos– So They’re Ready When You Are

Eggs, sperm and embryos can all be frozen and stored, in case you need them in the future. It is a relatively straightforward procedure that has helped many Australian men and women on their path to a family.

The technical name for the freezing process is "cryopreservation", and the storage process is called "cryogenic storage". At Flinders Fertility, we have been doing this for more than 30 years.

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Why Store Your Eggs, Sperm Or Embryos?

You might choose to use cryogenic storage if:

  1. Fertility banking is appropriate.
  2. You’re about to be treated for cancer – This is called onco-fertility. It allows you to undergo treatment without the constant worry of infertility after cancer treatments.
  3. You’re going through In Vitro Fertilisation (“IVF”) - IVF is where a woman’s eggs are taken out and fertilised in the laboratory. One or two fertilised eggs (embryos) are then placed back into her uterus. Any ‘left-over’ embryos that are suitable are frozen and stored for use in future IVF cycles. Sperm can also be stored for IVF, which is very helpful for men who find it difficult to ejaculate on demand or are unavailable on the day of egg collection.
  4. You’ve had sperm surgically extracted – If you’ve had sperm surgically removed we can store it for future use.  See testicular sperm aspiration and microsurgical sperm retrieval for more information.
  5. You’re about to have a vasectomy – Some couples choose a vasectomy to ensure no accidental pregnancies, but still like to keep their options open for a family in the future.
  6. You’re about to have testicular or prostate surgery – Unfortunately, some testicular and prostate surgery can cause infertility. Sperm storage ensures you still have the option to have a family afterwards.
  7. You work in a high-risk job – Some men work in jobs that can compromise their fertility (e.g. high exposure to environmental toxins). Sperm storage is like an insurance policy in these situations.

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The Storage Process

At Flinders Fertility, we possess the latest technology for freezing and storing eggs, sperm and embryos. This includes a secure area for our storage tanks. All storage tanks are electronically monitored, 24 hours a day, and qualified personnel monitor liquid nitrogen levels daily. And, of course, a dedicated cryopreservation specialist works with you and your doctor throughout.

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The Egg And Embryo Freezing And Storage Process

  1. You meet with one of our Fertility Specialists.  During this appointment, your medical history and lifestyle will be comprehensively investigated.  Birth control use, pregnancy history, frequency and regularity of menstrual cycles, medications used, surgical history, other health issues, your lifestyle, and your work/living environment may be investigated.
  2. You undergo counselling, medical assessments, and screening for infectious and genetic diseases.
  3. We stimulate the development of a number of follicles in the ovaries.
  4. We monitor your body’s response so we know when your eggs are ready for retrieval.
  5. We retrieve the eggs.
  6. If freezing embryos, we fertilise the eggs with a sperm sample collected at the same time (see below).
  7. We freeze your eggs or embryos using a process called "vitrification". (Studies show that more eggs or embryos frozen this way survive thawing, because they’re cooled so quickly that there’s no time for ice crystals to form. Instead, they’re instantaneously solidified into a glass-like structure.)
  8. We store your frozen eggs or embryos until they’re needed.

For detailed information about process please open or download our "IVF Booklet" (pdf 2.39MB).

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The Sperm Freezing And Storage Process

  1. You meet with one of our Fertility Specialists to discuss your medical history and family planning goals.  During this appointment, your medical history and lifestyle will be comprehensively investigated.  Medications used, surgical history, other health issues, your lifestyle, and your work/living environment may also be investigated.
  2. You undergo counselling, medical assessments, and screening for infectious and genetic diseases.
  3. You supply a sperm sample through masturbation, or we collect it through surgery.
  4. If sperm obtained are suitable for freezing then they are crystored.
  5. We store your frozen sperm until they’re needed.

For further information about surgical sperm recovery procedures, please open or download our "IVF Booklet" (pdf 2.39MB).

If undergoing an IVF process, any "left-over" sperm can be stored, which is very helpful for men who find it difficult to ejaculate on demand on the day of future egg collections.

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How Long Can Eggs, Sperm And Embryos Be Stored?

We can store your eggs, sperm and embryos for up to 10 years. For embryo storage, however, we require an additional consent after the first 5 years.

For further information, please read our Position Statement on the "storage and disposal of embryos" (pdf 61 KB).

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Find Out More

At Flinders Fertility we recognise that a website may not cover all your information requirements.  That's why we offer a number of information options. So, if you want to find out more about egg, sperm or embryo storage, either:

  1. Call on 131 IVF (131 483) to talk to our Scientific Director.
  2. Email us at enquire@flindersfertility.com.au.
  3. Seek a referral to Flinders Fertility from your Doctor.

If you require the aid of an interpreter please let us know, as well as any specific regional dialect that you may require.

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