How Much It Costs to Freeze Sperm—and Why You Should Freeze Yours Before 45

Freezing sperm is often expensive and not covered by insurance.

Historically, society has put women under a lot of pressure to have kids by a certain age, but people of any sex or gender identity may be concerned about whether their age may influence their ability to have children. The truth is that statistically, fertility may decline with age, regardless of sex. However, it's still possible to become a parent over the age of 35 or even 45.

According to a 2019 review of several studies, a male's age may influence fertility, the well-being of their pregnant partner, and the health of their children. More specifically, the authors report that higher paternal age was associated with a decline in fertility, an increase in pregnancy complications, and an increase in health issues for the children.

The authors of the paper say more people might want to consider freezing sperm if they want to have kids later than 35 or 45. Find out more about the health risks associated with being an older parent as well as the cost to store sperm.

The process of artificial insemination in IVF clinic

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What Are the Health Risks of Older Paternal Age?

The paper, which reviewed existing research, suggested that pregnant people who have a child with a male partner older than 45 have an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes and preeclampsia (a condition involving high blood pressure during pregnancy or delivery).

As far as concerns for the baby, research suggested that older paternal age may increase the risk of premature and low-weight births, as well as birth defects such as congenital heart disease and cleft palate. The children are also more likely to be diagnosed with childhood cancers, psychiatric and cognitive disorders, and autism.

Why Is There a Risk?

The researchers said these increased risks may be the result of:

  • Lower testosterone levels
  • An accumulation of genetic mutations in sperm cells
  • An overall decline in sperm count and quality

More research is needed to know for sure. "Just as people lose muscle strength, flexibility, and endurance with age, in men, sperm also tend to lose 'fitness' over the life cycle," co-author Gloria Bachmann, MD, director of the Women's Health Institute at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, said in a press release.

Are There Health Risks Associated With Older Maternal Age?

The authors noted that many of the risks mentioned above are also associated with older maternal age. People who become pregnant over 40 years old are at a higher risk of:

  • Cesarean section
  • Preterm delivery
  • Preeclampsia
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Fetal death in utero

People assigned male at birth aren't usually warned by their healthcare providers (or by society as a whole) of the potential risks that come from parenting children at an older age.

When Should You Freeze Your Sperm?

"As a society, perhaps men should be encouraged to bank sperm before their 35th or, at least, their 45th birthday," the authors wrote in the paper, "to decrease the increased risks on maternal and fetal and child health which have been shown to occur as a result of aging sperm."

With that being said, there is no standard recommendation, and experts have different opinions concerning the best age to freeze sperm. The Southern California Reproductive Center, for example, recommends freezing sperm by the age of 40.

Authors of a 2017 review, however, wrote that although people should be warned of the risks of parenthood at later ages, freezing has also shown negative effects on sperm (such as decreased motility) in some cases. When financial cost is also taken into consideration, they concluded that there's not enough evidence for them to suggest that young people should preserve sperm.

How Much Does It Cost to Store Sperm?

Unfortunately, most health insurance plans don't cover the cost of freezing sperm. If you or your partner is considering the procedure, call your insurance company before scheduling an appointment so that you're clear on their policies. However, many sperm banks offer payment plans to make it more affordable.

The cost varies between facilities and depends on how many samples you store and how long you store them. For instance, the website has a $700 kit that comes with a year of free storage ($145 for every year after that). The Sperm Bank of California states that their initial fees (including the first year of storage) are $1575, while each additional year of storage costs $550.

People interested in freezing their sperm can find a sperm bank in their area by searching online or asking a healthcare provider.

How Does Freezing Sperm Work?

Typically, the person will be asked to produce a semen sample at the sperm bank or at a laboratory, though some sperm banks do offer kits that can be used at home. The semen sample is then analyzed in a lab, and as long as the sample contains live sperm cells, it can be frozen and stored.

How to Reduce the Risks of Older Paternal Age

There's not much research on how to reduce the risks of older paternal age, but in general, taking the following steps can improve fertility, sperm quality, and parental and child outcomes:

  • Healthy diet
  • Limiting alcohol
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Not smoking or using recreational drugs
  • Regular exercise
  • Stress management

You can reach out to a healthcare provider or fertility specialist to get more advice on your specific circumstances.

A Quick Review

People who want to sire children over the age of 45 may have an increased risk of health effects for their pregnant partner and child. This may include birth defects, premature births, and preeclampsia, among others.

While there are no standard recommendations on the topic, experts tend to agree that it is best to freeze sperm by the age of 45—and ideally before the age of 35. The cost of freezing and storing sperm can differ, depending on where and how long it is stored.

If you're over the age of 35 and interested in becoming a parent, feel free to talk with a healthcare provider to find out more about the risks and how you can reduce them.

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  2. Phillips N, Taylor L, Bachmann G. Maternal, infant and childhood risks associated with advanced paternal age: The need for comprehensive counseling for men. Maturitas. 2019;125:81-84. doi:10.1016/j.maturitas.2019.03.020

  3. National Library of Medicine. Preeclampsia.

  4. American Association for the Advancement of Science. Older fathers put health of partners, unborn children at risk, Rutgers study finds.

  5. Bouzaglou A, Aubenas I, Abbou H, et al. Pregnancy at 40 years old and above: obstetrical, fetal, and neonatal outcomes. Is age an independent risk factor for those complications? Front Med. 2020;7:208. doi:10.3389/fmed.2020.00208

  6. Southern California Reproductive Center. Sperm Freezing.

  7. Jennings MO, Owen RC, Keefe D, Kim ED. Management and counseling of the male with advanced paternal ageFertil Steril. 2017;107(2):324-328. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2016.11.018

  8. U.K. National Health Service. How can I improve my chances of becoming a dad?

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