Care During Chemotherapy and Beyond

Sperm Banking

QUESTION:  I am a 28 year old male and about to start treatment for Hodgkin's disease.  I understand that some treatments can cause fertility problems.  How would I learn more about the process of sperm banking?

ANSWER:   Therapeutic sperm banking, the process of storing sperm in a sperm bank before starting radiation or chemotherapy, is an option available to any man - married or not - who is concerned about the possible side effect of infertility.

Sperm banks are facilities at a limited number of health-care institutions where sperm are frozen and stored in liquid-nitrogen-cooled refrigerators.  Commercial sperm banks are available in some cities.

Before undergoing radiation treatments, patients are usually advised to collect specimens over at least two weeks to begin the sperm banking process.  Specimens can be stored because the capacity of sperm to fertilize eggs does not change for an extended period of time. 

There are costs involved with sperm banking - fees for freezing, storing and retrieving sperm for the donor.  Costs vary among institutions, and some portions are covered by some insurance companies.  Since most physicians want patients to start cancer treatment shortly after diagnosis, it is important to locate a sperm bank as soon as possible to begin the sperm banking process. 

For more information about sperm banking talk with your physician, and/or a specialist in fertility treatment.  The American Association of Tissue Banks in McLean, VA., also maintains a registry of U.S. sperm banks and can be reached at 1-800-635-2282.

Note:  We strongly encourage you to talk with your health care professional about your specific medical condition and treatments. The information contained in this website is meant to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute for medical advice. is designed to provide the latest information about chemotherapy to patients and their families, caregivers and friends. For information about the 4th Angel Mentoring Program visit