man sitting down with doctor

Male Patient Journey

At the first visit, you will have consultations with a SIMS IVF Swords oncology coordinator The aim of this meeting is to help you understand how the service works and explain the requirements for semen sample cryopreservation to be successful.

We will go through the details involved in freezing, risk, storage length, and the samples' future use.  You will be asked to sign consent forms and usually at this visit, you will also be asked to produce a semen sample. 

Viral Status

If not already determined by the referring Oncology Unit, viral status HIV I – II antibody Hepatitis B surface antigen & core antibody, Hepatitis C antibody, Cytomegalovirus antibody (CMV IgG) and other viral agents deemed necessary will be determined, these tests have to be undertaken within 90 days of the date of sample collection.

Semen Collection

Semen samples are collected at SIMS IVF Swords. Production of the sample on-site is preferred to ensure traceability for samples.

Timing of Collection / Semen Quality

Wherever possible, it is preferable to collect a semen sample for freezing 3-5 days after your last ejaculation. This will allow for optimal quality of the sample and may reduce the need for further repeats.

Number of Specimens

Often the pressure to commence treatment dictates the number of specimens you may provide. One sample is often enough, but, when necessary, we can freeze up to three specimens. However, the laboratory will ensure they recommend if a second sample is required. It is recommended to allow two days between samples to allow time for sperm production but we appreciate that this may not always be possible.

Semen Freezing

Semen is frozen and stored in liquid nitrogen and stored at a temperature of minus 196˚C.  The mixture of liquid nitrogen and glycerol enables semen to be frozen and stored for many years


Frozen semen will be stored in liquid nitrogen tanks, specifically designed to handle such material. They are fitted with alarms in case of low liquid nitrogen levels. The storage tanks will be held and maintained in the SIMS IVF Swords facility on the grounds of the Sims IVF Swords.  This facility is equipped with a monitored security system.

Data Collection Storage and Audit

Each specimen frozen will be labelled with the client’s name, date of birth, a Semen Freezing Number and the date the sample is frozen.  The client information and semen storage data will be recorded on the freezer’s inventory management software and in the client's chart.


How do I arrange an appointment?

Please ensure your referring consultant has forwarded our semen cryopreservation referral form (CF-0190) to our clinic. They will also need to arrange EU viral screening through the NVRL on your behalf


Can I schedule an appointment while awaiting these?

Unfortunately, no appointment can be scheduled until the referral form and EU viral screen results have been received. Sims IVF Swords will contact you once all relevant documentation and correct blood results are received.


How long will I have to wait for an appointment?

Semen Cryopreservation appointments for oncology patients are processed on a priority basis and scheduled depending on start dates for your possible treatment with your referring hospital.


What will happen at the appointment?

You will attend the clinic, sign consent forms and produce your sample in our private rooms. You will then be free to leave the clinic. Sample must be produced on-site.


How will I know if the sample is suitable for cryopreservation?

You will receive a call from our laboratory on the same day as your appointment to confirm the following

  • The quality of the sample
  • Was your sample suitable for freezing
  • How many straws have been frozen


What if my sample is not suitable for cryopreservation or I only have a low number of straws frozen?

You will be given the opportunity to attend the clinic for a 2nd appointment if advised by the Embryology Team


Can I attend for semen cryopreservation after I have undergone chemotherapy?

Semen cryopreservation must be undertaken prior to commencing chemotherapy treatment