sperm freezing

Sperm freezing Process

Sperm freezing or Sperm cryopreservation is a technique designed to preserve & store sperm in a sperm bank for future use. In this procedure, sperm can be stored in liquid nitrogen at -196°C for many years with a reasonable quality. Sperm banks can also collects and stores donor sperm. Frozen Sperms (including donor sperm) are use in IVF, Intrauterine insemination (IUI).

Why is Sperm freezing required?

  • In case of remarriage or death of a child may want to use back up frozen sperm sample.
  • Patients with a low sperm count or sperm quality is declining.
  • Patients taking some medical treatment that may affect his fertility.
  • Patients with cancer – chemotherapy and radiotherapy are known to be toxic to the gonads lead to deterioration in not just sperm counts but sperm quality as well.
  • Patients with other medical conditions diabetes (may cause erectile difficulty) etc.
  • Certain types of pelvic or testicular surgery (prevents sperm to enter into the urethra).
  • When sperm required for donation purpose – donated sperms by law has to be frozen and quarantined till donor is tested to confirm to be free of any infections like HIV, hepatitis B or C etc.
  • In some cases, patient has difficulty producing a sample on the day of fertility treatment or is not present on day of egg retrieval.
  • Undergoing Vasectomy (This is a surgical procedure for permanent contraception in males in which small tubes of scrotum that carry sperm are cut or blocked off, so sperm can’t enter into the urethra and prevents pregnancy).
  • Life threatening occupations (Personals of Armed Forces).
  • Planning a late pregnancy.
Sperm freezing is a safe, simple, established and no risk associated procedure, which has resulted in many successful pregnancies. Steps of sperm freezing are
  1. Clinician explains the procedure of sperm freezing to patient.
  2. Patient will be screened for infectious diseases including HIV, Hepatitis B and C.
  3. Patient will provide written consent for his sperm to be stored.
  4. Patient produces fresh sperm sample (Sample is collected by at least two days after intercourse and difference between collecting sample is two days).
  5. Every sample is assessed microscopically.
  6. Every sample is combined with protectant solution that allows sperm to survive the freezing and storage process.
  7. Samples are placed in labelled cryovials.
  8. Cryovials are slowly frozen in liquid nitrogen vapor.
  9. Afterwards, cryovials are placed in liquid nitrogen and stored in cryogenic tanks at a temperature of -196°C for future use (At least two samples stored and is an individual choice).
The survival rate of sperm after cryopreservation can vary widely. Depending on the amount of sperm banked, the andrology laboratory recommends that one of the cryovials be thawed to examine how successfully an individual’s semen can be stored and thawed. Sperm cryopreservation is carried out by expertise IVF specialist and andrologist in the government authorized sperm banks which are well equipped with specialised freezing and storing equipments. Among urban couples where both are busy in their professional lives, sperm freezing is a reliable and unique opportunity to have baby in later age. In India, cost of sperm freezing in bank is about Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 per sample. Rate of conception through frozen sperm is high as andrologist analyze the motility and mobility of the frozen sperm before IVF or IUI starts. Before freezing of sperms in bank, couples should undergo counselling with expertise infertility specialist and obtains information about sperm cryopreservation technique and its outcomes.