Sperm freezing

What is sperm freezing?

Sperm cryopreservation, or sperm freezing, refers to the technique of freezing and storing a man's sperm for later use. This technique can be beneficial for men who may face fertility issues in the future due to medical treatments like chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Why is sperm freezing recommended?

There are many reasons why someone may choose to freeze their sperm, including medical issues or social circumstances.

  • Sperm freezing is an option available to men who wish to preserve their fertility for future use.
  • Men who are undergoing cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, may choose to freeze their sperm before starting treatment in order to have the option of having biological children later on.
  • Additionally, men with certain genetic conditions that can affect fertility may also choose to freeze their sperm.
  • Sperm freezing is also an option for men who plan on undergoing a vasectomy but want the ability to have biological children in the future.
  • Single men and same-sex male couples may also choose this method as a means of preserving their fertility for future family planning.

 There are many different types of individuals who may consider sperm freezing as an option for preserving their fertility. It's important that anyone considering this method speaks with a medical professional and carefully considers all options before making a decision.

Where do you bank your sperm?

When it comes to sperm banking, choosing the right facility is crucial. There exist various choices that are accessible based on your budget and location. 

  • One option is a fertility clinic that specializes in sperm freezing. These clinics have experienced staff and state-of-the-art equipment to ensure the quality of your sample. They often offer additional services such as testing for genetic diseases or assisting with artificial insemination.
  • Another option is a sperm bank which stores samples for future use by individuals or couples who need donor sperm to conceive a child. Sperm banks typically have strict screening processes for donors, including medical history checks, STD testing, and psychological evaluations.
  • Some hospitals may also offer sperm banking services as part of their reproductive health program.

 It's important to do your research before selecting a facility. Look into the cost, success rates, reputation and accreditation of each potential place you consider storing your sample with.

Procedure Details

What is the step-by-step process of sperm freezing?

The process of sperm freezing, also known as sperm cryopreservation, involves several steps to ensure the best possible outcome.

  • The first step is a medical evaluation to determine if you're a good candidate for the procedure.
  • Once approved, you'll need to abstain from sexual activity for two to five days before providing a semen sample.
  • The semen is collected via masturbation into a sterile collection container.
  • This sample will be analyzed and prepared for freezing by separating the sperm from other fluids.
  • The semen is then mixed with a special solution called cryoprotectant which protects the sperm from damage during the freezing process by reducing ice crystal formation.
  • Once this solution is added, your sperm will be slowly cooled in stages until it reaches -196°C (-320°F).
  • Your frozen samples will then be stored in liquid nitrogen tanks at specialized facilities called cryobanks or fertility clinics until needed. These facilities must meet strict regulations set by government and medical organizations.
  • When ready to use your frozen sperm, it’s thawed and evaluated again before being used in assisted reproductive technology (ART) such as intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
  • The procedure of thawing frozen sperm before using it varies depending on individual cases but usually involves removing the sample from storage and gradually warming it up to body temperature before being used for insemination.

Note: Sperm banks typically store frozen samples in liquid nitrogen tanks where they are kept safe and secure until needed.

Are frozen sperm useful?

  • The success rate of using frozen sperm varies depending on several factors such as quality and quantity of the sperm, age and health condition of the individual, and method used for thawing and fertilizing the egg amongst others.
  • However, studies have shown that pregnancy rates from frozen-thawed sperm can be comparable to fresh sperm when it comes to artificial insemination (AI) or IVF procedures. The chances of clinical pregnancy using frozen sperm is high as 57%.
  • It's important to note that not all samples survive the freeze/thaw cycle. However, modern techniques such as vitrification which uses fast cooling methods coupled with advanced cryoprotectants can help ensure much higher survival rates compared to traditional slow-cooling processes.
  • While there may be no guarantee regarding successful outcomes with freezing sperm; however freezing your precious sperm will always yield better results than having none stored away in cases of infertility issues.

How long does frozen sperm last?

While there are no guarantees with any type of medical intervention, sperm freezing has proven to be an effective method of preserving male reproductive health. With proper storing and handling procedures, frozen sperm can last for as long as 40 years without losing its viability.

If you're considering sperm freezing as an option for yourself, it's important to do your research and ensure that you choose a reputable facility with experienced professionals. Speak with your doctor or a fertility specialist to learn more about this process and whether it could be right for you.


Key Takeaway:

  • Sperm freezing is a technique that involves freezing and storing a man's sperm for future use.
  • This technique can be beneficial for men who may face fertility issues in the future due to medical treatments like chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
  • Men who wish to preserve their fertility for future use, including those undergoing cancer treatment, genetic conditions that can affect fertility, and single men or same-sex male couples, may choose sperm freezing as an option.
  • There are several options available for banking sperm, and sperm freezing is an effective way to preserve male fertility.-
  • The process of sperm freezing involves several steps, including medical evaluation, semen sample analysis, and adding a protective solution before slowly cooling and storing the sample.
Frequently asked questions:
  1. Is sperm freezing expensive?
  2. What is the right age to freeze sperm?
  3. Does frozen sperm have lower pregnancy rates than natural sperm?
  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5615282/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9744399/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7831840/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5615282/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9085937/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9848311/#:~:text=Conclusion(s)%3A%20Sperm%20cryopreservation,relatively%20modest%20loss%20of%20motility.
Dr Purva Singh
IVF Specialist