Specimen Information

What type of sperm vial do you need?

Fairfax Cryobank makes it easy for you to understand what type of donor sperm vial is correct for your type of insemination procedure. From home insemination to IVF, use the chart below to find what type of sperm preparation (IUI Premium, ICI Premium, IUI ART, ICI ART, ICSI Washed, ICSI Unwashed) work for you!

What type of sperm donor vial should I buy?

Learn more about what type of vial preparation works best for you in this YouTube video.

Total Motile Cell Standards/vial

Quality Standard

The following are Cryobank’s specimen quality standards.*

Specimen TypeTotal Motile Cells/ milliliter (TMC)Clinical Use
IUI Premium10 million/vialWashed: Ready for intrauterine insemination (IUI).
ICI Premium10 million/vialUnwashed: Ready for intracervical insemination (ICI) or IVF. They can be washed at your clinic for use in an IUI.
IUI ART6 million/vialWashed: Ready for IUI (2 vials) or can have post-thaw processing at your clinic and be used for IVF with/without ICSI. 
ICI ART6 million/vialUnwashed: Ready for ICI (2 vials) or IVF (1 vial). They can be washed at your clinic for use in an IUI(2 vials). 
ICSI Washed3 million/vialWashed: They can have post-thaw processing and be used for IVF with/without ICSI.
ICSI Unwashed3 million/vialUnwashed: Ready for IVF (1 vial) with/without ICSI.

*Note that TMC counts will vary by about 10%-30%, depending on the lab personnel and counting method. By way of example, if Fairfax Cryobank’s laboratory determined a specimen contained ten million TMC, we would expect the client’s clinic to find between seven million and thirteen million TMC.

IUI ART and ICI ART Vials:

If used in an IUI procedure, the IUI ART does not require further preparation after being thawed. Both ICI ART and IUI ART vials can be used in IVF with/without ICSI, ICI, and IUI procedures but may require post-thaw processing.

There are two advantages to ART prep. First, Fairfax Cryobank ART vials come in two preparation types: ICI ART (unwashed) and IUI ART (pre-washed). Both the IUI ART and ICI ART can be used for all insemination types; however, post-thaw prep may be required. IVF procedures may require additional post-thaw preparation of specimens as well. Our ART vial contains a minimum of 6 million TMC and goes up to 10 million TMC per vial.

Washed Vs. Non-Washed Vial Preparation Type

Fairfax Cryobank has frozen donor sperm specimens specifically prepared for three types of procedures: direct intrauterine insemination (IUI Premium, IUI ART, and ICSI Washed are washed), intracervical insemination (ICI Premium, ICI ART, and ICSI Unwashed are unwashed), and In Vitro Fertilization following a post-thaw wash of all specimen types (IUI Premium, ICI Premium, IUI ART, ICI ART, ICSI Washed, ICSI Unwashed). Our specimens have been frozen after the addition of a freezing medium containing a cryoprotectant that will protect the cells during the freezing and thawing process.

  • IUI Premium, IUI ART, and ICSI Washed – ready frozen donor sperm has been prepared by washing the fresh ejaculate to remove the seminal plasma prior to freezing.
  • ICI Premium, ICI ART, and ICSI Unwashed – contain seminal plasma and require additional processing if used in procedures other than intracervical insemination.

Fairfax Cryobank specimens are color-coded to indicate the preparation type. IUI Premium/ IUI ART/ISCI Washed specimens are color-coded with an ORANGE cap. ICI Premium/ICI ART/ICSI Unwashed specimens are color-coded with a RED cap.

Processing, Packaging, and Freezing:

All donor sperm specimens are produced onsite at the Fairfax Cryobank facility and tracked with a 3-part tracking label to verify the donor of origin. All specimens are processed using methods to provide protection from contamination of the specimen during processing.

Before freezing, a freezing media containing a cryoprotectant buffer is added to the specimens to protect the sperm cells and membranes during the freezing, storage, and thawing process. Fairfax Cryobank completes a bioassay test of each lot of freeze media to determine its suitability before use.

After processing, and the addition of the freeze media, 0.5 ml aliquots of the specimen are packaged in individual vials for ICI and IUI-ready specimens. All vials are labeled with the unique donor number, freeze date, vial #, and a code for the facility of origin.

After freezing, the vials are stored at -196 degrees Centigrade in liquid nitrogen tanks for 6 months of quarantine. The donor is subsequently retested for infectious disease before the specimens are released for use. The liquid nitrogen tanks are specifically designed with alarm systems for the safety and security of the specimens.

More is Not Always Better

We all often fall into the societal pressure to accept that more or bigger is better, but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes there is an optimal amount, as is the case of the number of sperm required to achieve pregnancy through insemination.

At Fairfax Cryobank we have a specimen quality standard that ICI Premium and IUI Premium vials will have a minimum of 10 million Total motile cells per vial. We chose to put 10 million TMC per vial after careful consideration of data from laboratories at the Genetics & IVF Institute, our parent company founded in 1983, and an extensive literature review.

Several studies demonstrate that when it comes to pregnancy rates, more is not always better. There is an observed plateau in pregnancy rates once the concentration of cells reaches 10 million. (Van Voorhis et al, 2001) & (Cressman et al, 1996).

We have carefully calculated what we believe to be the optimal concentration of cells in the specimen for the ultimate goal of bringing home a healthy happy bundle of joy.