Sperm (the reproductive cells found in a man’s semen) is typically collected through masturbation. A man can choose to collect his sample at home or in our clinic, but should only use an approved, sterile lubricant that doesn’t harm the sample quality.
Men are also asked to abstain from sexual activity for approximately two days prior to the appointment to allow for the best possible specimen. Once a semen sample is provided it is tested for sperm quantity, shape and movement within each specimen.
If sperm are not present in the sample or if the man is unable to ejaculate, a surgical retrieval to remove sperm directly from the testicle is another option.
Next, the samples are separated into multiple vials to be frozen. Lab technicians will use specialized cryoprotectant (“anti-freeze”) agents to help preserve and protect sperm cells. The frozen sperm is then stored in the lab until needed. When the time comes, the sperm is thawed, washed and tested for mobility prior to use in IUI or IVF.
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Frequently Asked Questions
QWho should consider freezing his sperm?
The primary benefits of freezing sperm are to allow a man to preserve his fertility by using his sperm at a later date or to give an infertile couple, an infertile individual or a lesbian couple a chance to conceive.
QWhat are the common reasons to choose to freeze sperm?
- Advancing age.
- Deteriorating sperm quality or low quantity.
- Cancer or other medical reasons.
- Pre-vasectomy patients.
- Transgender patients.
- Career and lifestyle choices, such as those with high-risk occupations or who spend a lot of time away from their significant other.
QWhat is sperm retrieval?
Sperm retrieval is an advanced microsurgical technique used to harvest sperm in cases of male factor infertility where there is little or no sperm present in the ejaculate.
QHow do you know if sperm retrieval is right for you?
To know whether sperm retrieval is the right male factor infertility treatment for you, you need to start by getting an accurate diagnosis to uncover the specific cause of infertility. To get your infertility diagnosis, start by calling SCRC or click here to contact us. We’ll set up your no-obligation consultation with a fertility specialist.
QHow long is sperm viable after you freeze it?
Frozen semen can be stored for as long as 50 years without additional sperm deterioration beyond that caused by the original freezing process.
QCan I use the frozen sperm for IVF?
Yes. After the retrieved sperm are washed and further prepared in the IVF lab, they are injected directly into the partner’s eggs using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), and the IVF cycle proceeds as usual. Many couples with male factor infertility have successfully conceived with IVF using sperm extraction methods.
QWhat is the optimal age to do sperm freezing?
The optimal age for sperm freezing is under 40 years old, in healthy men without family histories of cancer or other hereditary disease.
QWhat is the success rate of this process?
The refinement of microsurgical techniques, combined with advances in cryopreservation technology, has resulted in high pregnancy rates. Many couples with male factor infertility have successfully conceived with IVF using sperm extraction methods.
QHow do you retrieve sperm if the man can’t ejaculate?
If the man can’t ejaculate, we will proceed with a surgical retrieval to remove sperm directly from the testicle.
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