This information explains how to do an inpatient semen collection.
You will be starting a treatment that may affect your fertility. Your doctor has recommended that you collect sperm before treatment. This will preserve your ability to have a biologic child in the future. The simplest way of doing this is through masturbation. This involves stimulating yourself to get sexually excited to the point that you ejaculate. The fluid that comes out of your penis is called semen. It contains sperm which will be frozen until you want to use it to have a child.
Collecting sperm is usually done at a sperm bank. Because you are in the hospital, we need to plan for you to collect the specimen here. After it is collected, the specimen will be brought to a sperm bank where it will be analyzed, frozen, and stored the sperm. Sperm can be stored for as long as you want.
If you feel that collecting sperm by stimulating yourself to ejaculate will not be possible, please let your doctor or nurse know. Reasons may include:
- You feel too ill or are in too much discomfort to do this.
- It is too embarrassing or distressing.
- It is not allowed because of your religious or cultural beliefs or practices.
Other methods of collecting sperm exist. We can arrange for a reproductive urologist to see you and discuss these options with you.
These are the steps needed to collect sperm:
- Select a sperm bank. We have an arrangement with a sperm bank (Repro Lab) to pick up specimens and transport them back to the sperm bank for processing. This will add a cost of about $35. If you want to use a different sperm bank, you will have to arrange for a friend or family member to bring them the specimen immediately after it is collected.
- Complete the paperwork that we need to send to the sperm bank with your specimen. This includes personal information, an agreement, and authorization for payment. Your nurse will give you the forms to fill out. We will also make a copy of your photo ID and insurance card to send with the paperwork.
- When you are ready to do the collection, let your nurse know. He or she will arrange for as much privacy as possible and will give you a container for the collection.
- To collect the specimen:
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
- Stimulate yourself to get sexually excited. Do not use spit, saliva or lubricants as these can destroy the sperm. Your nurse will give you mineral oil to help, but use this only at the base of your penis to avoid getting it mixed in with your semen.
- Collect all of the semen into the sterile container and then tighten the lid.
- Once you have completed the collection, call your nurse. Give him or her the specimen container.
- Tell your nurse if any of the fluid was not caught in the container.
- Tell your nurse how many days have passed since the last time you ejaculated. This could be through intercourse or masturbation.
- Your nurse will provide this information to the sperm bank.
- Your specimen and the paperwork are then brought to the sperm bank.
- If the sperm bank is picking this up, everything will be kept at your bedside until they arrive.
- If you are having a family member or friend transport the specimen, they should do this as quickly as possible; the specimen should be delivered to the sperm bank within 45 to 60 minutes of collection. The specimen should be put in a pocket close to their body to keep it at body temperature.
Most sperm banks require that blood and urine be tested for infectious diseases. These will be collected during your hospitalization. The results will be sent to the sperm bank you have selected to store your sperm.
If you have any questions about the information on this card, or about fertility issues related to your cancer treatment, please tell your doctor or nurse. They can arrange for our Fertility Clinical Nurse Specialist to speak with you.