What you need to know about costs, financing options and making sperm banking a success.
Preserving your ability to have children is priceless, but it’ll cost you. While not nearly as expensive as freezing eggs, the costs of sperm banking — also known as sperm cryobanking or semen cryopreservation — can easily add up. We walk you through your options for paying for your next trip to the sperm bank to help you make a smart financial decision.
How can I finance sperm banking?
Three main ways to borrow funds for sperm banking are a personal loan from an online lender, a line of credit or a credit union loan. Here’s how these three options work:
Personal loans from an online lender
You can pay for sperm banking with a personal loan — most can be used for any legitimate personal expense. However, you might want to check with your insurance provider first. While it’s not common to have sperm banking coverage, you might find some exceptions in your policy if you’re about to undergo a procedure that affects your fertility, like radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
Since sperm banking usually costs around $2,000, you might have a hard time finding an inexpensive loan small enough without high interest rates. If your costs are low or you’re unable to predict how much you need to borrow, consider taking out a line of credit or borrowing from a credit union.
Lines of credit
A personal line of credit offers more flexibility than your standard term loan by giving you access to a credit limit rather than a lump sum. With a line of credit, you only pay interest on the amount you borrow. These are particularly useful if you’re not sure how many collections you’ll need to make or what tests you’ll need to pay for.
Credit union personal loans
You might want to consider looking at local financial institutions like credit unions. Many offer small personal loans you can use for medical expenses with competitive interest rates. You’ll have to become a member and the application process can take longer than an online loan, however, so credit unions are not the way to go if time is of the essence.
Compare top personal loans
How much does sperm banking cost?
The total cost of sperm banking depends on your medical office, how many collections you want to make and any additional tests you might be required to take. Here’s how it breaks down:
- Sperm bank consultation. Consultations generally cost $100 to $150, depending on the clinic.
- Semen analysis. You can expect to pay $150 to $175 per specimen. Medical professionals typically recommend that you freeze at least two specimen — three if you’re undergoing chemo or radiation therapy. It’s not uncommon to have as many as six samples, more if you have a low sperm count.
- Semen freezing. This typically costs around $200, though sperm banks often bundle semen analysis, freezing and washing together.
- Blood tests. Sperm banks typically charge $140 to $200 per blood test. It usually covers at least HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B and C.
- Storage. Expect to pay $40 to $70 per month for storage or around $400 to $500 per year. Frozen sperm can still fertilize an egg after more than 10 years in storage. However, it’s important to note that it’s not guaranteed to result in a pregnancy regardless of how long.
- Thawing. Thawing your semen can cost you around $25 to $75.
Testicular sperm extraction (TESE) costsIf you’re unable to ejaculate or have a low sperm count, your doctor might recommend TESE. It’s a minor procedure conducted with local anesthesia where a doctor extracts semen from your testicles. While it’s more common for TESE extractions to be used immediately, if your sperm count is high enough you can freeze these samples.
TESE typically costs between $500 and $4,000 per extraction.
How else can I pay for sperm banking?
- Through your clinic. Many sperm banks offer financing options through a third-party provider that specialize in medical loans. It could be great if convenience is your priority, but you’ll be limited to what your healthcare provider offers and you might not find the best deal.
- Grants and discounts. Foundations like Livestrong offer to cover at least part of the cost of sperm banking or give discounts on storage to individuals affected by cancer. Members of the military also can sometimes get discounts directly through fertility clinics.
- Credit card. While you might not want to stick larger bills on your credit card, it’s easier to put smaller costs like storage on plastic if you’re able to pay it back relatively quickly. Avoid maxing out your credit limit to keep your credit score in good shape.
- Crowdfunding. Raise funds from your family, friends and social network by setting up a campaign on a crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter or GoFundMe.
- Save up. If you don’t have any urgent medical reasons for freezing your sperm immediately, you might want to consider opening a high-interest savings account and depositing a few hundred dollars in it every month until you have all the funds you need.
Franklin pays for 5 years of storage
Let’s imagine Franklin is over 50 years old and hasn’t had children yet. He thought he might like to have children down the line but was concerned about the health of his genetics as he got older. To put his mind at ease, he decided to go to a sperm bank and have three samples of his semen frozen and prepay for five years of storage. Here’s how his costs broke down:
|Consultation and visit||$150|
|Semen analysis, processing and freezing||$350/specimen|
|Storage for 5 years||$1,340|
Franklin didn’t qualify for financial aid at his clinic and the minimum amount his clinic’s financing partners offered was $3,000 — more than he needed.
He was, however, already a member of a local credit union that offered personal loans below $3,000. He decided to stick with his credit union after comparing its personal loan rates, terms and fees with online options and banks. He qualified for a $2,680 two-year term loan with an APR of 9%.
He ended up paying a total of $2,938.44 with monthly repayments of $122.44.
How does sperm banking work?
At most clinics you can expect something like this:
- Find a sperm bank. Look for a sperm bank in your area that caters to your particular needs. Make an appointment or ask your doctor for recommendations. Some require you to make an appointment for a consultation before you make a deposit.
- Make a deposit. Go to your appointment at the bank for a consultation and to make a semen deposit into a sterile cup. How often this happens depends on how many sperm samples you want to freeze.
- Specimen analysis. Your sperm bank analyzes your semen to get a sperm count and divide them into vials.
- Freezing. Your sperm bank uses cryopreservation technology to instantly freeze your semen. This method does minimal damage to your sperm, though around 50% will die during the freezing and thawing process. Freezing prices are a little higher if your blood samples come back positive for some infections.
- Storage. Pay a yearly fee to keep your sperm in storage until you’re ready to use them. Doctors typically recommend that you wait until you’ve completed your family before discarding any samples.
5 tips for upping your sperm count
Having a higher sperm count increases the likelihood that you’ll be able to successfully use your semen samples to fertilize an egg. We gathered five common tips from various sperm bank websites for you to consider:
- Avoid sex or masturbating for two to five days before making a deposit. This ensures you have the highest possible sperm count — wait any longer and your sperm count could actually go down due to an increase in dead sperm.
- Stay away from hot tubs. Or anything that can heat up your testicles, including warm baths. Heat is said to hurt sperm production.
- Go for boxers not briefs. Like a hot tub, briefs could overheat your testicles and cause your sperm count to take a dive.
- Eat right. Go for vegetables, fruit and whole grains over fried foods and refined carbs. Staying at your ideal body weight and getting the right nutrients is considered key to maintaining your fertility.
- Hit the gym. Not only is exercise important in maintaining your weight, it can also help reduce stress and anxiety, which contribute to infertility. Just don’t overdo it. Extreme exercise — like marathon training — could actually lead to a lower sperm count.
Sperm banking doesn’t seem expensive, but costs can easily add up. While not all lenders offer personal loans with borrowing minimums as low as banking your sperm typically costs, there are some out there. Start with our guide to personal loans to compare your options and find financing that works for you.