When Freezing Sperm is a Good Idea
Fathering kids late in life
Men often think that it’s possible for them to father a child at any age. They’re not wrong: A quick look online finds the story of a guy named James Smith who, back in 1951, fathered twin daughters at the very ripe old age of 102. More recent — and more famous — late-in-life fathers include Rod Stewart, Mick Jagger and Steve Martin, all of whom fathered children after turning 65.
Six reasons you might want to bank your sperm
The thing is, fathering a child can become problematic as your biological clock ticks and your sperm quality naturally diminishes, often starting around the age of 40.
There can be other factors to consider as well. Here a few possible scenarios:
- You’re getting a vasectomy and you’re wondering if you might someday change your mind about having children.
- Your fertility level is low, whether due to low sperm quality, sperm disorders, erection or ejaculation issues, or you’re worried that your fertility will slow down before you want to become a father.
- You’re concerned about your child having a higher likelihood of autism or psychiatric diseases, which more than one study has shown are more likely with children born to men age 45 and older.
- You’re in the military or another potentially high-risk occupation.
- You’ve been diagnosed with cancer or another condition that could affect fertility.
- You’re undergoing a procedure that involves hormone therapy.
These reasons are why, if you’re in your 20s or 30s and you’d like to father children eventually but not right away, you might consider freezing your sperm.
How sperm freezing works
Sperm freezing and banking is actually pretty simple. After finding a qualified and reputable sperm bank (look into laboratory accreditation, state licenses and FDA compliance), you provide a semen sample, either in the lab or through the mail in a special container. The sample is then put into specially designed vials and a special preservative compound is added to help protect the sperm during freezing and thawing. The sperm-filled vials are then gradually frozen and kept as long as you agree to store them. Years or even decades later, the sperm can be thawed and used. There’s typically an initial charge and an annual fee. And while sperm banks have been around for a long time, recent scientific advancements have made sperm banking more effective, convenient and affordable.
Is banking sperm right for you?
The decision to bank sperm is a highly personal choice, but there’s nothing wrong with discussing it with your urologist, your partner and your close friends and family members. While no one can tell the future, banking your sperm can work as an insurance policy, helping to preserve your chances of fatherhood and a healthy child later in life.