Sperm Freezing

Sperm Freezing: Techniques and Usability

Sperm Frezzing

Human sperm freezing technology is an efficient procedure for male fertility preservation. It is efficient technique for the management of male fertility, before therapy for cancer, or vasectomy. In addition, freezing is useful for infertility treatments, to store donor and partner spermatozoa before assisted reproduction treatments. Sperm freezing if done properly ensures the recovery of a small number of spermatozoa in severe male factor infertility.

What is sperm freezing?

Sperm freezing includes the process of sperm collection and analysis before cryopreservation. The frozen sperm samples are later used for fertility treatments for the couple or donated to other couples. This overall process is known as cryopreservation and is sometimes referred to as sperm banking.

The cryopreservation process involves:

Why sperm freezing?

1. Low sperm count or abnormal semen parameters.

 2. For cancer patients to preserve their fertility prior to gonadotoxic chemotherapy or radiation.

3. Patients proposed to undergo pelvic or testicular surgeries

4. Degenerative illnesses such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis patients or spinal cord disease or injury.

5. Occupations risking of injury to sperms.

6. Before vasectomy for men undergoing surgical sterilization

7. In order to quarantine the sperm sample if suspicion of latent infections arise. Also for all done sperm samples as a routine measure to quarantine.

8. Used in combination with ART techniques.

9. Husband working abroad  and the wife needed to undergo an IVF, semen sample of the husband can be frozen.

10. Men undergoing sperm retrieval procedures, the sperms once retrieved can be frozen to avoid undergoing surgery again.

What is a sperm freezing solution?

The sperm freezing process utilizes agents that minimize damage to the sperm cells during the freezing and thawing process.

The Cryoprotective agents (CPAs) used for sperm freezing are:

• low molecular weight chemicals that protect spermatozoa from freezing damage

• CPAs can also be toxic if used at high concentrations.  

How are sperm collected?

Sperm collection is through masturbation. A man can choose to collect his sample at home or in the clinic, but should only use an approved, sterile lubricant that doesn’t harm the sample quality.

You have to abstain from sexual activity for approximately two days prior to the appointment to allow for the best possible specimen. The andrologist checks the semen sample for sperm concentration, motility and morphology within each specimen. You may be asked to provide another sample if this sample is insufficient for analyzing or abnormal parameters.

Why consider sperm cryopreservation before vasectomy?

Men should freeze one or more samples of semen just before vasectomy performed. These samples ensure “reproductive preservation” in case life’s circumstances change in case a couple wants another child at a later date. This may remove the possible need for vasectomy reversal or assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment at a later stage. Reversal of vasectomy is not a successful attempt for fertility because regaining fertility after vasectomy is neither easy nor cheap.

Sperm freezing protocol

1.You can collect semen by masturbation following 3 days of abstinence.

2. Allow sample to liquefy at 37°C for 30 minutes. Measure the volume of the ejaculate.

3. Assess the semen sample Ensure that both liquified semen and Sperm Freeze Solution are at ambient temp.    (After collection and liquefaction, the semen specimen can be stored as a raw specimen. It can be processed with a density gradient and washed with Sperm Washing Medium prior to mixing with freezing medium. Please refer to the sperm separation protocols.)

4.Dilute with equal volume of semen and Sperm Freeze Solution. Add Sperm Freeze Solution slowly and dropwise to the semen and then carefully tilt after each drop added.

5. Leave in room temperature > 10 min.

6. Load vials, Mark cryovials with patient ID and load the semen mixture into cryovials. Do not fill cryovials upto the neck, allow some space for expansion.

7. Place cryovials in the liquid nitrogen after checking the ID. Dip these vials into liquid nitrogen vapor for 30 minutes by suspending them in the liquid nitrogen storage tank above the liquid level.

8. Store in LN2, Transfer the cryovials quickly into the liquid nitrogen and store at -196 °C.

Where to store sperm near me?

A sperm bank is part of a fertility treatment requisite. Semen preservation is in liquid nitrogen and stored in a nearby fertility center with storage fees. However, there are kits available to facilitate sperm freezing from home. It is convenient and avoids discomfort to the couple. Those who are unable to come to the sperm bank can take the help of the home kit with the help of specialists. You can collect the sample in the privacy of your home and shipped overnight to the center for testing and freezing.

How long can you freeze your sperm?  

Semen can be used successfully indefinitely after cryopreservation. Human sperm has been reported of cryofreezing up to 24 years without damage. Cryopreserved specimens can be viable for long period if processed and frozen properly. It will remain viable for an indefinite amount of time. Couple can achieve pregnancy even after sperm has been stored for 20 years prior to thawing and insemination. An individual’s sperm can be stored up to his 55 years of age.

Benefits of sperm cryopreservation

Frozen spermatozoa is advised for preserving fertility in men:

  • Before cancer treatment.
  • Prior to planning sterilization procedure
  • For high-risk professional exposed to chemicals, radiation or extreme heat
  • Those who suffer from ejaculatory dysfunction.

Sperm freezing is also used for sperm donation in a sperm bank.

What is the success rate of sperm freezing?

The frozen spermatozoa performs same as fresh sperm in ICSI in terms of pregnancy success rate. Although, there is a statistically significant difference in fertilization rate (frozen sperm 62%, fresh sperm 47%) frozen sperms are equally used in certain situations. The sperms retrieved after thawing may be less in number but have high success rate in fertility treatment like ICSI.

Can you freeze sperm for IVF?

 IVF using frozen sperm is also successful as fresh sperm. If you are having any fertility issues you can contact your fertility specialist for frozen spermatozoa.

How much does sperm freezing cost in India?

Sperm cryopreservation can be done according to the patients need to have to undergo a treatment.The total of the cost will vary from case to case, if the patient wants to freeze the own sperm for any fixed time period then it will cost less when compared to long time storage. Thus, sperm cryopreservation would be costly as it might be preserved from over a long time period. Storage fee can be collected as annual fee. The sperm freeze charge will include all the charges till the patient is handed over with sperm and used in the assisted fertilization treatment.

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