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Sperm Freezing

Sperms are the reproductive cells found in a man’s semen. The process of collecting, analyzing, freezing and storing men’s sperm is called Sperm Freezing. It is done by utilizing a specialized technique and subsequently keeping sperm in liquid nitrogen at -196 degrees Celsius. In this way, sperm can be stored and maintained in a reasonable quality for many years.

The freeze samples can be used later for-

  • Fertility treatment.
  • For donating to infertile couples who want to become parents.

Sperm freezing is a safe and standardized process. It is used since 1953 to help people conceive. With time, the entire process continues to improve as technology advances.

Why should men consider freezing sperms?

Freezing sperms allow men to preserve their fertility for later use. There could be many reasons that can hamper fertility like:

  • Advancing age
  • Chemotherapy or other radiation therapy
  • Deteriorating sperm quality and number
  • Pelvic or testicular surgery
  • Vasectomy
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Other underlying illness
  • Lifestyle choices that may hamper sperm quality like excessive smoking, alcohol intake, etc.

Procedure of Sperm Freezing at Pragati IVF Centre

Before sperm collection and freezing, you will be asked to perform blood tests for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. It will reduce the chances of contamination during sperm storage. Once the blood tests reports came, you can arrange an appointment with the doctor to follow the next instructions.

  • The man who wants to freeze sperm is asked to provide the sample at the clinic. He is also asked to abstain from sexual activity for at least two days before collecting the sample. It will ensure that high-quality specimen is collected.
  • The collected sample is checked for sperm quality, shape and movement.
  • If there are no sperm in the sample, the doctors may retrieve it surgically from the testicle.
  • The samples will now be preserved in a specialized cryo-protectant agent to protect the sperm cells until needed.
  • When the sperm is required, it will be thawed, washed and tested for quality and mobility to use in IUI or IVF treatment.

How many sperm samples should be preserved?

Generally, the number of samples to be preserved depends upon the man’s situation and medical conditions. A man can freeze up to two to five samples to ensure even if one degrades due to some reason; the rest will be functional for future use.

How long can the sperms be stored?

The standard storage period for sperm is ten years. However, it can remain viable and usable in a frozen state for longer. The sperm never damages in the frozen state. However, it may degrade during the freezing or thawing process. The amount of time sperm is in storage does not influence the success rate of fertility.

When can one use the frozen sperm?

Inform the doctor if you wish to use the frozen sperm. The doctor may run some basic tests and examine the fertility of the woman. If the quality of the sperm sample is good enough, IUI can be done at the time of ovulation.
In case, the sperm quality is not up to the mark and is not suitable for IUI, the doctor may go for IVF and ICSI. These procedures increase the chances of pregnancy even in cases when the sperm count is low.

Are the children produced by using frozen sperm normal?

Yes, various researches suggest that there is no difference in the chances of birth defects and abnormalities in children born with frozen sperm versus fresh sperm. So, a man can go for sperm freezing without any concern.
However, it is reported that chemotherapy drugs may affect sperm quality and the offspring. Therefore, if you are about to undergo cancer treatment, it is best to freeze the sperm before chemotherapy begins.

Are there any risks involved in sperm collection and freezing?

There are no risks involved in collecting the sample naturally. However, if the doctor performs the surgical procedure to retrieve sperm, minor risks like bleeding and discomfort may happen. The rest of the process of sperm freezing is completely safe.
Since the semen sample contains enough sperm, there will always be healthy sperm for performing fertility treatments. The sperm cells survive well during the thawing and freezing process. Cryopreservation can store sperm for many years without degrading its quality and can create healthy babies.

Sperm Freezing