At Mate Fertility, we do not offer long-term Sperm Freezing and Storage. We will refer you to a local Sperm Bank for long-term storage and freezing. There are certain circumstances where we will store your sperm (i.e., if you are in the Army and getting deployed, and your partner will be starting treatment while you are away).
We will perform a semen analysis prior to any treatment and will store your sperm for short periods of time while undergoing treatment if necessary.
Sperm is stored at-196˚in liquid nitrogen. Frozen sperm has a very long shelf life and can be thawed and successfully used in fertility treatments decades later. Babies born from frozen sperm are not at an increased risk for disorders.
One-third of all cases of infertility are because of the sperm, including sperm disorders that may prevent natural conception from occurring. We can treat severe male infertility, a low sperm count, or the total absence of sperm (azoospermia) with an advanced IVF treatment called Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection. After your sperm is analyzed in the lab, we can send your sperm to a sperm bank to freeze samples for later use.
Although there are still many studies that are being done, the majority of large studies show that sperm freezing has minor, not major risks. It is important to thoroughly read and understand your consent forms before starting treatment and discuss any questions you may have with your team.
What is sperm freezing?
Sperm freezing is usually a fairly simple process. Semen is typically collected via ejaculation, processed and concentrated and then frozen and preserved using liquid nitrogen. In rare instances sperm may need to be collected by other more methods such as testicular surgical sperm retrieval. This sperm may also be frozen in liquid nitrogen. The first pregnancies born from sperm freezing occurred in the 1950s. Sperm freezing is less common than egg freezing because reproductive aging is more pronounced for ovaries compared to testicles.
Why do people freeze sperm?
Short-term sperm freezing is most commonly done to facilitate the logistics of some fertility treatments. Long-term sperm freezing is used to increase the chance that future fertility treatments, if needed, will be as successful as possible, most commonly in the setting of suspected risks to future fertility.
Risks of infertility that freezing sperm may mitigate include: prior to chemotherapy with risk of testicular damage. Prior to surgery with risk of testicle damage. Prior to surgery to remove the testicles for gender affirmation. Prior to gender affirming hormone treatment. Genetic risks of progressive testicular failure (such as a y chromosome microdeletion.) Medical conditions with a heightened risk that may necessitate IVF, including a confirmed requirement for surgical sperm retrieval from the testicles.
What are the steps of sperm freezing?
The process of sperm freezing can vary depending on the patient. For some patients this is a simple procedure done to simplify the logistics of fertility care. For others sperm must be surgically retrieved.
Preparation: Time spent preparing for sperm freezing varies. Patients need to be emotionally, socially and physically prepared to complete either the ejaculation process or a procedure. Some patients may choose to optimize their lifestyle during this time.
Sperm Collection: Most patients will have to undergo several ejaculations for adequate long-term storage, but the exact number of times will depend on the quality and quantity of the samples and the reproductive goals of the patient. A small number of patients may have to undergo a surgical sperm retrieval, the details of which would be discussed with a reproductive urologist. Surgical sperm retrievals are outpatient procedures, meaning patients typically do not need to stay in the hospital overnight.