Everything You Need to Know About the Sperm Freezing Process
Sperm freezing, or sperm banking, is becoming an increasingly popular option for men looking to preserve their fertility or expand their future reproductive options. Whether you are experiencing a health issue, making a lifestyle choice that can impact future fertility, want to delay family building to a later point in life, or simply want to play a more active role in the family planning process, freezing can help you take control of your fertility health.
The Sperm Banking Process
Once you have decided to cryobank your sperm, the first step is to make an appointment for semen collection. Once your appointment is set, you will have to remain sexually abstinent for at least two days before the collection, but not more than five days. This time range will provide the maximum quality of sperm.
Collection can occur either at home or at a sperm banking facility. At-home sperm freezing kits provide patients with all the necessary instructions and materials that they need to produce a viable sample while also allowing them to be in the comfort of their own home. If you choose to provide your sample at the facility, you will do so in a private room designed specifically for this purpose. In both scenarios, the sample is produced via masturbation and collected into a sterile container.
Next, the sample is prepared for storage by being mixed with a specialized solution that will provide protection during the freezing and thawing processes. The sample is then separated into one or more containers, depending on the number of motile sperm present in the sample. The samples are frozen using liquid nitrogen, which reaches a temperature of -196° C (-371° F). The liquid nitrogen is checked periodically and replenished when needed. The sperm can then be thawed at a later point to be used for in vitro fertilization (IVF), artificial insemination, and other fertility treatments.
Semen can be cryobanked on either a short- or long-term basis. Short-term cryobanking is when sperm is frozen and stored for less than a year and is typically used for cases of oligozoospermia (low sperm count), in conjunction with various fertility treatments, or for deferred insemination. Long-term semen cryopreservation is made possible through the use of liquid nitrogen, which can store sperm indefinitely. Long-term cryopreservation is a great option for men who want to postpone family planning for the foreseeable future.
Is Sperm Freezing Right for You?
Sperm cryopreservation is a suitable solution for a wide variety of scenarios, including:
Being diagnosed with a disease, such as cancer, where fertility can be impacted by the illness itself or the treatment
Having a hazardous occupation or being in the military
Wanting to get a vasectomy but still have the option to be a father in the future
If you have questions about your fertility preservation options, contact the Fertility Center of California and we can guide you toward the decision that best suits you.