In men, sperm is produced continuously. Spermatogenesis in the testicles is happening continuously, even at older age.Therefore, due to the different function of male physiology, there is no fear of "sperm running out", in contrast to women’s oocyte reserves, which are being reduced overtime.
However, in some cases, the normal function of the male reproductive glands can be disrupted. This could happen if a man is going through chemotherapy. It has been proven that anticancer medication affects, usually temporarily, the normal function of the male reproductive glands. Likewise, if one or both testicles have been removed, often after a testicular cancer diagnosis.
In such cases, doctors recommend the preservation of patient’s fertility through the process of sperm freezing. Sperm is frozen and stored in a tank containing liquid nitrogen enabling its future use in a treatment, such as IUI (insemination) or IVF. In the past, the only available option to make children would be through sperm donation; even worse to accept the fact that they could never have children. Sperm freezing gives these patients the chance to have their own biological children, if they choose so.
Finally, some patients face male infertility, meaning that in their sperm analysis they exhibit low sperm count or/and motility or/and poor morphology. For some of these patients, the reproduction gynaecologist might recommend sperm freezing, in order to ensure that an adequate sample of semen will be available in case of an assisted reproduction treatment.
Sperm freezing process is simple. Patients need to contact Gennima IVF to book an appointment. A semen sample can be given either after collecting it at home or in a dedicated room at Gennima IVF. It is important that you allow an abstinence period of 2-4 days - neither more nor less - before providing the sample; otherwise the quality of the sperm sample will be adversely affected. Embryologists will then receive the sample, process and record all quality parameters (sample volume, sperm count, morphology and motility) and proceed with freezing. Finally, patients will receive a report for their medical record.
- Semen sample collected at home needs to be transferred at Gennima IVF and delivered to the embryology lab in less than 60 minutes from ejaculation (ideally within 30 minutes), to avoid affecting its quality. Sample should be collected in a sterile container and transferred at Gennima IVF at ambient temperature. Do not put the sample in the refrigerator because cold temperatures will affect its quality!
- Before we proceed with the freeze and storage of sperm, patients should take certain routine blood tests for infectious diseases (Hepatitis, HIV, etc.).
- Patient will be asked to sign a written consent. Based on this consent, the patient is required to communicate with Gennima IVF every 12 months and inform about his intentions, for example maintenance for one more year or destruction.