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Semen Cryopreservation

Semen Cryopreservation

 Also known as sperm freezing, sperm cryopreservation is an option for men who wish to save up sperm for future use. Thanks to the advances in medical reproduction technologies, successful pregnancies have been achieved using sperm which has been cryopreserved for twenty years or more.

Semen cryopreservation can be used for sperm donation, however, the most common terrains of human sperm cryopreservation are:

  • Prospective artificial insemination and other fertility treatments
  • Men who are undergoing vasectomy and wish to preserve this resort to have children in the future.

Sperm cryopreservation is a common practice done along with fertility treatments such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI).

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Before Human Sperm Cryopreservation

At the andrology laboratory, the medical specialist will inform you about the details of the procedure. This consultation should provide answers to all your questions, for instance regarding the storing procedure and the conditions of the semen storage agreement.

The clinic asks all patients to sign a consent form which allows them to specify what will happen to the sperm if the patient is unable to make decisions for himself (i.e. if he dies). Other specifications include:

  • How long the patient wants the sperm stored (standard period is 10 years)
  • Whether the partner can use the sperm
  • Whether the patient wishes to be recorded as the father
  • If the sperm can be used for research or donations

Obtaining a Semen Specimen

As maximum quality and quantity are required for semen cryopreservation, abstaining from ejaculation for three days, but not more than five, is recommended.

Before the freezing of semen the medical specialist takes a sample to make sure of its quality. Semen collection is performed through manual stimulation, into a clean container with a leak proof lid.

Then the sperm is placed on a warming block at 37ºC in order to liquefy it.

The semen is mixed with a freezing medium, to allow the storage process, and then it is divided into cryovials.

Semen samples will freeze in liquid nitrogen, and then they are placed in special containers until they are needed. Each cryovial is labeled with the patient’s information and a unique reference number for further cataloging in the storage facility.

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