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Storing embryos and sperm at the clinic

Your genetic material is kept at the clinic you’ve chosen to work with, and generally if you don’t ask to have it disposed, it will be stored there for years and you’ll have to pay for its storage. The storage costs differ from one clinic to another, and usually they aren’t based on the number of frozen sperm/embryos kept in storage.

The costs are comprised of the sperm (every sperm provider is stored separately and the annual cost in the United States is usually $200-$400 per sperm provider), and embryo storage which costs between $400-$900 per year per couple.

The cost isn’t only for “room in the fridge”, but also for the liquid nitrogen, the expensive control systems, the insurance, and a lot of other things that have to be taken into account, from electricity, to manpower, and more. I’ve encountered questions like “it’s only two test tubes, why is it so expensive?”.

Note that most of the plans offered by the clinics include at least the first year of storage at a discounted rate and the “meter” only starts running when the first year is up. Some clinics also offer two years of storage and more, so take this into account when you compare the plans offered.

In general, people stop storing sperm if there are enough embryos (the cost of storing sperm is not cheap, and if necessary, it’s not a problem to give additional sperm samples, which may actually cost even less than storing it).

Embryos, however, are a much more difficult decision to make. I’ll admit that I find it difficult to let go, but I guess that at a certain stage if we’re sure that we don’t want any more children, we’ll request to have the remaining embryos disposed or donate them to other families as a good deed to help them start a family. Obviously there are a lot of emotional ramifications to the process and everyone has to do what feels right for them.


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