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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get started?

Your first step for selecting a donor should be to choose a health care professional to help guide you through the process. After seeking professional medical advice, the process is fairly simple. You can browse our donor catalog to view donor profiles, or you can perform an advanced search for specific donor characteristics. Once you have chosen a donor, simply contact New England Cryogenic Center to place an order.

Please note: we recommend having several donors selected (at least three) in case your preferred donor is unavailable.

What type of information do I need to have prepared to place an order?

To place an order you will need to set up an account (see our forms center). When calling to set up an account please have the following information available:

  • Your name, address and telephone number
  • Shipping address
  • Preferred shipping method
  • Donor number(s) in order of preference
  • Number of vials and preparation type (ICI, IUI, ART)
  • Date the specimens need to arrive at your provider's office or your home*
  • *Note: Physician approval is required for home delivery
  • Payment information - New England Cryogenic Center accepts most major credit cards including Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. You may also arrange to pay by check, money order, cash.
  • If you are planning to store sperm with New England Cryogenic Center for use at a later date, you will need to submit a signed banking agreement in addition to setting up an account.

What is the difference between an ICI, an IUI and an ART prepared specimen?

ICI and IUI (sometimes referred to as "unwashed" and "washed") and ART specimens are used for various artificial insemination procedures, with some doctors preferring one preparation method over the other. In most instances, a doctor will recommend washed units for an IUI insemination (intrauterine insemination). The process of making an IUI specimen begins before cryopreservation. The sperm are separated from the seminal fluid by centrifugation and a cryoprotectant is added, creating an IUI specimen. While IUI is most often requested for intrauterine insemination, some doctors wish to wash the specimen themselves, and therefore instruct their client to order ICI (intracervical insemination) specimen to be washed in their office or facility. An ART vial is prepared for an assisted reproductive procedure such as an in-vitro fertilization or an intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). These vials generally have a lower total motile sperm count as not as many sperm are needed for these types of procedures.

What methods of payment do you accept?

New England Cryogenic Center accepts most major credit cards including VISA, MASTERCARD, AMERICAN EXPRESS, and DISCOVER cards. We also accept cash, checks and money orders.

What types of shipping arrangements are available?

We know how important it is to receive your order when you need it. While we offer a variety of standard delivery options, we will also go to great lengths to make sure you get your order when you need it. Our shipping capabilities are unsurpassed - we take extraordinary care to protect your specimen and deliver it in ideal condition.

For clients in the Greater Boston area, standard courier delivery is Monday through Friday for delivery to a medical facility. Specimens will be delivered a minimum of one business day after the order is placed. You may also elect to avoid delivery charges and pick up your order at our Marlborough laboratory. A preparation fee applies.

For clients anywhere else in the world, we ship vials using a priority delivery service. All specimens are shipped in portable liquid nitrogen vapor tanks. These cryopreservation tanks are guaranteed by the manufacturer to maintain proper temperature for 7 days from the date of shipping. Please see our page on Shipping for more information.

What diseases do you screen a donor for?

We conduct the following tests on every donor:

  • Hepatitis B surface antigen
  • Hepatitis B core antibody
  • Gonorrhea (GC)
  • Syphilis
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV antibody)
  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Cystic fibrosis (please note that not all donors have been tested for the same number of CF mutations. Please call and speak with a New England Cryogenic Center customer representative to find out the specific number of mutations tested on your donor of choice)
  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • HIV-1 and HIV-2
  • HTLV-1 and HTLV-2
  • B-thalassemia*
  • Tay-Sachs carrier screen*
  • Sickle cell carrier screen*

· These tests are conducted on donors from specific ethnic groups.

What is the purpose of the Quarantine period, and how long does it last?

A donor is tested for a number of infectious diseases when he starts in the donor program. The semen is frozen and stored for 180 days and then the donor is retested. This allows for seroconversion, i.e., for enough antibody to show up to be detected by the blood test. This is an important step to ensure the health of both mother and baby.

How important is choosing a donor with a specific blood type?

Donor blood type may be important to you if:

  • You don't plan on telling your child he or she was conceived with donated sperm
  • Your own blood type is Rh-negative. Women who are Rh-negative may develop antibodies to a fetus that is Rh-positive.

We strongly encourage you to discuss blood type matters with your physician or health care professional.

Can I perform the insemination at home or can this only be done at the doctor's office?

Yes. Provided the proper forms are completed, an insemination can certainly be performed at home. Many of our clients prefer the privacy of this method. We do require physician approval for at home inseminations.

Can I use a friend or relative as a donor?

Yes. While this simplifies the process of selecting a donor, your friend or relative will need to adhere to the same process all of our sperm donors follow. Contact New England Cryogenic Center for more information about our Selected/Known Donor Program.

How do I report a birth?

Please contact our offices to report a birth. We limit the numbers of pregnancies that can be achieved with each donor's sperm. Therefore, it is very important to us to track the numbers of pregnancies for each donor.

Does cryopreserving sperm reduce the success of achieving a pregnancy?

Cryopreservation may result in some loss of viable motile sperm. However, this may be compensated for by increasing the number of sperm used during insemination. Successful pregnancies have recently been achieved with sperm frozen for 28 years.

How are my specimens stored?

After sperm is collected, it is cryopreserved in a liquid nitrogen tank at -196 degrees Celsius (-320 degrees F), a temperature at which all metabolic processes are suspended. The specimens are stored in our state-of-the-art laboratory, which is under constant surveillance. Storage is maintained by a staff of highly trained cryogenic professionals supervised by a team of medical professionals.

How can I be assured the specimens I withdraw are mine?

Accurate identification of a specimen is one of New England Cryogenic Center's prime concerns. Each banking client is assigned a unique identifying number. Our quality control systems ensure that each specimen is properly labeled with the unique identifier on the storage container, and in all inventory documents. After a specimen is produced, it remains under the responsibility of one of our highly trained technicians. New England Cryogenic Center maintains strict policies to ensure that each client's identity is tracked throughout the entire banking and storage process.

What are your credentials?

Our laboratory and scientific protocol are certified, licensed and/or governed by the following organizations:

Certifications - New England Cryogenic Center is certified and licensed with the following regulatory agencies:

American Association of Blood Banks
Massachusetts Department of Health
Licensed/Inspected, License #2337
CLIA '88
Certification #22D0725005
New York State Department of Health
License #GA077 and # GA114
California Department of Health Services
License #CNC80400 and #80440

Registrations - New England Cryogenic Center is registered and governed by:

U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Registration #3002733251 and #3005374514

Memberships - New England Cryogenic Center subscribes to the standards and practices of:

American Association of Bioanalysts
American Society of Reproductive Medicine
Society for Cryobiology

New England Cryogenic Center scientists are active members of:

New England Fertility Society
American Society of Andrology

How do you package and ship specimens?

All specimens are shipped in portable liquid nitrogen vapor tanks. These cryopreservation tanks, are guaranteed by the manufacturer to maintain proper temperature for 7 days from the date of shipping. Tanks are shipped via a priority delivery service. Shipments in the greater Boston area can be delivered by our own local courier.

Will my insurance cover this?

Perhaps - coverage for fertility issues varies among insurance providers. Please check with your insurance company to determine coverage. Please note that New England Cryogenic Center does not accept payment directly from insurance companies for any services provided - you will need to arrange for payment and seek separate reimbursement from your insurance company. We can provide you with the records and invoices you may need for filing a claim.

How do I know whether you received my information?

You can contact us at any time to determine the current status of your account. Our toll-free number is 1-800-991-4999.

Does New England Cryogenic Center offer a buyback program?

For vials currently listed as available in our catalog, New England Cryogenic Center will buy back donor vials at 50% of the original purchase price, provided the vials have not yet left our facility. An administration fee will apply.

Does New England Cryogenic Center offer a vial exchange program?

We allow clients to switch active donor vials in their inventory for vials of another available donor. An administration fee applies. We will not accept for return any specimen that has left our facility.

Can I reserve specimen for future offspring?

Yes. You may purchase extra specimens and store them with New England Cryogenic Center. An annual storage fee applies, contact us for details.