Fertility Preservation

What is sperm freezing?

Sperm freezing means freezing a man’s sperm in liquid nitrogen – a process known as cryopreservation. This helps to preserve the man’s ability to become a parent in the future. Under normal circumstances, it is advisable to freeze sperm at a younger age. There is no decline in the ability of the sperm to fertilize an egg, despite the individual’s growing age.

How are sperm collected and frozen?

The sperm is usually collected from a man via masturbation and can be done at a clinic or home. For safety and ease of storage, it is best done in a clinic. Men must refrain from sexual intercourse two to five days leading up to the collection of the sample. In the extreme scenario of inability to ejaculate, the sperm can also be surgically retrieved.

Once the sample is collected, it is separated into multiple vials to be frozen. The lab technician uses a specialized cryoprotectant agent to help preserve and protect the integrity of the sperm cells. The frozen sperm is then stored in the laboratory until it’s needed. When required, the sperm is thawed, washed and tested for mobility prior it is used in IUI or IVF.

Who should consider freezing sperm and why?

The fundamental benefit of freezing sperm is to prolong one’s ability to produce children, even at an advanced age. Some of the common conditions that necessitate sperm freezing include

  • advancing age,
  • falling sperm quality & quantity,
  • inclination to undergo vasectomy,
  • lifestyle choice, and
  • possible cancer treatment that may reduce the ability to reproduce naturally.

What are the risks involved in freezing sperm?

In the normal course of sperm collection and freezing, there are no potential risks involved. However, in the case of surgical retrieval of sperm, there are the usual surgical risks associated of infection and damage.

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