Male Fertility Preservation
What is Male Fertility Preservation or Sperm Freezing?
Advantages of Sperm Freezing or Male Fertility Preservation
Who is Sperm Freezing Suitable For?
Male Fertility Preservation or Sperm Freezing Process
Even before the sperm can be collected, the man has to go through a blood test to screen for infections such as HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. Once the donor’s blood work is clear he can move onto the next step in the sperm freezing process.
A man can provide his sample at the sperm bank/clinic or at home. Sperm is collected through the process of masturbation. The donor is provided with a sterile container for a collection of the sperm. It is important that the donor does not have an ejaculation for 2 – 5 days before the procedure. If the last ejaculation took place less than 2 days ago it could lead to the sample count being too small. A typical ejaculate contains between 40 million to 600 million sperm. If the last ejaculate was too long ago it could lead to the sperm being too immotile.
Once the sample is provided the lab technicians analyse the samples for volume, viscosity and pH levels. The sperm are also microscopically evaluated to determine motility, sperm count, morphology and other important factors.
To prevent damage to the sperm from freezing a non-reactive cryoprotectant is added to the sperm sample. After being significantly cooled the sperm is added to liquid nitrogen at minus 196 degrees Celsius.
Thawing the sperm for use
When the sperm is required to be used the thawing process is undergone. This step in the procedure is equally as vital as the freezing process and the same precautions need to be taken before the frozen sperm can be used. During thawing, it is important that the sperm cells regain their normal biological activities without being subjected to abrupt temperature variations. The protocol suggests using temperatures of 37 degrees Celsius for thawing. Once thawed the sperm is separated from the cryoprotectant by washing it in a culture medium and centrifuging it.