Live births from frozen human semen stored for 40 years

  • Andras Z. Szell
  • Russell C. Bierbaum
  • W. Brent Hazelrigg
  • Ryszard J. Chetkowski


Low temperature storage in liquid nitrogen is thought to maintain the viability of cells almost indefinitely because reactions that require molecular motion and/or activation do not occur at −196 °C. The adverse effects of background radiation during storage appear to be negligible since exposure of mouse embryos to the equivalent to 2,000 years of background radiation did not have a detectable effect on their viability [1].

Two clinical reports have been published on the successful use of human semen stored for longer than 20 years. Live births have been reported from in vitro fertilization with semen stored for 21 years [2] and from IUI with semen stored for 28 years [3]. In farm animal species, Salamon et al. [4] reported that ram semen maintained its fertility after 35 years of storage. Here we report the birth of twins from in vitro fertilization using semen stored for approximately 40 years.

Materials and methods

Between January and December 1971, a man aged between...


Live Birth Leuprolide Control Ovarian Stimulation Human Semen Semen Donor 
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  1. 1.
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    Horne G, Atkinson AD, Pease EH, Logue JP, Brison DR, Lieberman BA. Live birth with sperm cryopreserved for 21 years prior to cancer treatment: case report. Hum Reprod. 2004;19:1488–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Salamon, S, Gillan, L, Evans, G, Maxwell, WMC. Fertility of ram semen after 35 years of frozen storage. Proc 15th Int Congr Anim Reprod. 2004, Porto Seguro, p. 476.Google Scholar
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    The American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Guidelines for therapeutic insemination: sperm. Fertil Steril. 1998;70:1S–4.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andras Z. Szell
    • 1
    • 3
  • Russell C. Bierbaum
    • 2
  • W. Brent Hazelrigg
    • 2
  • Ryszard J. Chetkowski
    • 1
  1. 1.Alta Bates IVF ProgramBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.ReproTech Ltd.Saint PaulUSA
  3. 3.Alta Bates Medical CenterBerkeleyUSA

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