At San Antonio IVF, we have andrologists who are very proficient at freezing sperm for the future
Cryopreservation should be considered in several different situations. Sometimes sperm needs to be cryopreserved for the short-term while a couple is undergoing fertility treatments. Men with active travel schedules may consider freezing sperm so that treatment is not delayed if they have to be out of town. Men who suffer from “performance anxiety” (a very common situation) may desire to freeze sperm in order to take away the pressure of having to produce a specimen on short notice.
Some men should consider long-term preservation of their sperm. This is especially true for guys with chronic illnesses potentially requiring treatment with medications that can interfere with either sperm production or function.
Prior to freezing a specimen, a semen analysis is performed in order to know how many and what quality of sperm are being frozen.
The sperm are then divided into different vials depending on the intended future use (IUI, IVF, or ICSI) and frozen in liquid nitrogen at 400 degrees below zero. This temperature stops all cellular function without damaging the chromosomes in the sperm. Therefore, the sperm can be frozen for many years without impairing their ability to function. Unfortunately, however, up to 40% of sperm that are frozen will not survive the freezing and thawing process, so you may want to consider freezing several specimens. Long term studies show no increased risk of producing chromosomally abnormal children from the use of frozen sperm, so this has become a safe, well accepted procedure that is routinely used in a modern andrology laboratory.
Reasons to freeze sperm for the short-term
Prior to advanced reproductive treatments: Fertility treatments can be stressful, and sometimes that stress can interfere with the production of an adequate semen sample at a critical time. Sperm can be frozen in advance so that if collection becomes a problem on the day sperm are needed, the frozen sample can be thawed and used for procedures like IUI, IVF, or ICSI.
Low sperm count: When sperm counts are critically low, sperm can be frozen for use if the fresh sample does not contain enough sperm for the planned procedure.
When men will be absent: Sperm freezing enables the female partner to move forward with her fertility treatments even if her male partner is out of town due to work, unforeseen events, etc.
Ejaculatory dysfunction: When specimen collection is difficult due to ejaculatory dysfunction, sperm can be stored in advance of when they are needed. If ejaculation is not possible on the day sperm are needed, the frozen specimen can be thawed.
Reasons to freeze sperm for the long-term
High-risk occupations: Men whose work exposes them to chemicals, radiation, extreme heat, etc. may consider storage of sperm because these exposures can severely reduce sperm number and/or quality.
Cancer or other chronic medical condition: Radiation or chemotherapy treatment for cancer or other chronic disease can have a significant adverse effect on sperm quantity and quality. Freezing sperm prior to these treatments can preserve future fertility.
Ejaculatory dysfunction: Sperm number and quality may decrease over time when ejaculation can’t occur, such as with spinal cord injuries. Cryopreserving sperm ensures that sperm will be available when it’s time to start a family.
Before a vasectomy: Freezing sperm before vasectomy can preserve fertility and prevent the need for future procedures if personal circumstances change and the desire for children is renewed.
Contact us to arrange for a new patient consultation with Dr. Munch or Dr. Hudson. If you have been trying to get pregnant, and suspect the cause may be male infertility, Our doctors have the experience and the skill to help most men successfully overcome a diagnosis of male infertility, so they can go on to have healthy children.