Semen freezing or “Cryopreservation” is a procedure by which spermatozoa is sustained in a state of cryptobiosis or “suspended animation” without affecting its fertilizing capacity.
Cryopreservation of semen is a reliable, safe, and time-tested procedure. Thousands of babies are born every year from the use of cryopreserved sperm. A variety of patients could benefit by cryopreserving their semen for future use.
Who should have their Semen Cryopreserved?
- Patients prior to chemo- or radiotherapy
- Patients prior to vasectomy
- Patients anticipating questionable future fertility
- Patients prior to medically assisted reproduction
How many ejaculates should be Cryopreserved?
This depends on the semen quality and the reproductive health of the couple. A few insemination doses may be obtained from a single ejaculate. Generally, two to six ejaculates will yield enough insemination doses for cryopreservation.
Freezing and Storage
For cryopreservation, it is preferable to collect an ejaculate following three days of sexual abstinence. Based on the semen quality, ejaculate is divided into insemination doses, cryopreserved, and stored in liquid nitrogen (-196°C) in specifically identified and secured containers. The frozen samples may be kept for many years.
Anyone who wishes to cryopreserve his sperm will need to have an agreement for sperm storage with the laboratory which is renewed annually.
- Semen Collection and Processing Methods by R.S. Jeyendran
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.