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Centre for Semen Freezing

Semen Freezing

Semen freezing, also known as sperm cryopreservation, is a method used to preserve sperm cells for future use in assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI). It is commonly employed by individuals who are facing medical treatments that may affect their fertility, such as cancer treatments, or by those who wish to preserve their fertility due to personal or lifestyle reasons.

Here’s an overview of the semen freezing process:

  • Semen Collection:
  • The process begins with the collection of a semen sample from the individual who intends to preserve their sperm. The sample is typically collected through masturbation into a sterile container provided by the fertility clinic or laboratory.

  • Semen Analysis:
  • The collected semen sample undergoes a semen analysis to assess sperm count, motility (movement), and morphology (shape). This analysis helps determine the quality of the sperm and informs the freezing process.

  • Semen Processing:
  • After analysis, the semen sample may undergo processing to concentrate the sperm and remove seminal fluid, which can decrease the effectiveness of freezing. Various techniques, such as density gradient centrifugation or swim-up, may be used for this purpose.

  • Cryopreservation:
  • Once processed, the semen sample is divided into smaller aliquots and mixed with a cryoprotectant solution. This solution helps protect the sperm cells from damage during the freezing and thawing process. The samples are then placed in special containers and gradually cooled to very low temperatures using a controlled-rate freezer.

  • Storage:
  • Once the samples have been frozen, they are transferred to long-term storage tanks filled with liquid nitrogen, where they are stored at ultra-low temperatures (typically around -196°C or -320°F). Sperm can remain viable for many years when stored under these conditions.

  • Thawing and Use:
  • When the individual is ready to use the preserved sperm for fertility treatment, the frozen samples are thawed using a controlled process. Thawed sperm can be used in various ART procedures, including IVF and IUI, depending on the individual’s fertility needs and the recommendations of their healthcare provider.

    Semen freezing offers individuals the opportunity to preserve their fertility and have biological children in the future, even if they face circumstances that may compromise their reproductive health. It’s important to discuss semen freezing with a fertility specialist early on, especially before undergoing medical treatments that may affect fertility, to ensure the best chances of success.