Sperm freezing – everything you should know about it is covered in this comprehensive guide. Delve into the entire process of sperm banking and freezing, as described by professionals in the field.
If you want to establish a family someday, whether or not you have fertility concerns, you may be considering sperm freezing.
According to Ashok Agarwal, Ph.D., urologist and head of the Andrology Laboratory at Cleveland Clinic’s Fertility Center, “sperm banking is the best insurance against infertility and affords couples the possibility of having their own biological baby.”
However, information regarding sperm banking and the experience of having your sperm frozen can be difficult to come by. We posed some of the most common questions concerning sperm freezing and sperm banks to two reproductive specialists.
The reason sperm banks exist is that people want to save their genetic material.
There are many beneficial reasons for men to store their sperm.
To preserve their fertility in the future, Dr. Agarwal advises all men to consider sperm banking. “The most prevalent types of cancer diagnosed are testicular cancer, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and prostate cancer.”
Sperm quality decreases, and, in certain cases, sterility might arise after cancer treatment.
Dr. Agarwal argues that sperm banking is useful for a variety of reasons, including vasectomy, travel, military service, and gender transition.
Sperm banking is also recommended for men with low sperm counts.
No of the quantity or quality of their sperm, Dr. Agarwal advises everyone to store a specimen. Using cutting-edge methods like Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), even a single sperm can be used to fertilize an egg, so long as they are available.
Even before trying for a baby with the help of IVF, this was the case.
Reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, Paula Brady, MD, suggests that “men with very low sperm counts may be encouraged to freeze sperm before IVF” in case the partner’s fresh ejaculate contains zero sperm on the day of egg retrieval. When sperm are retrieved surgically, it is typically preserved for future IVF procedures.
Similarly, males who are above the age of 50 and want to start a family should think about sperm banking.
Dr. Brady states, “Paternal age over 50 is connected with a higher risk of autism and psychiatric disorder such as schizophrenia in offspring.” For this reason, men who anticipate delayed childbearing may want to explore sperm banking (albeit this is not a common request).
Where Can You Transport Your Frozen Sperm?
One type of sperm bank is a fertility clinic.
Kits for use in the comfort of one’s own home are available for this purpose.
“Those unable to physically visit the sperm bank might request a home sperm banking kit instead. The sample can be collected in the comfort of their own home, and it can be sent to the lab for analysis and freezing the following day, ” Dr. Agarwal explains.
A new fertility kit called Dadi, which includes both a fertility test and the option to save sperm for future use, has also recently entered the market.
What’s The First Step in Sperm Freezing?
“The decision to store one’s sperm is deeply personal. It’s preferable to consult one’s spouse or significant other before making such a major life choice. If a young man is under 18, both parents should be consulted. As the doctor is the only one who can order sperm banking and the doctor is the only one who can advocate the need for sperm banking, “Dr. Agarwal says.
The testing process begins after that.
Dr. Brady states, “Men who intend to bank sperm receive blood testing to screen for sexually transmitted illnesses and a semen analysis to examine sperm parameters (count, motility, and morphology/shape). Before providing the sample for freezing, “men are normally asked to practice 2-3 days of abstinence (no ejaculations).”
Who are the most qualified men to have their sperm frozen?
“According to Dr. Agarwal, sperm banking is a viable option for any healthy adult male who has sperm present in his ejaculate.
Also, sperm banking is an option for kids.
Dr. Agarwal thinks that sperm banking is a viable option for young people who have been diagnosed with cancer and have reached puberty. “Everyone should learn more about sperm banks, get educated on the topic, and consider using one if their fertility is in danger, like cancer, and if treatment can be started quickly.
If you are interested in being a sperm donor, you should follow these rules.
Dr. Brady recommends that those who want to freeze their sperm to donate to commercial sperm banks be at least 40 years old, in good health, have great sperm parameters, and don’t have any family histories that raise red flags for cancer or other genetic diseases.
Who among males shouldn’t have their sperm frozen?
According to Dr. Brady, “Men should ideally not bank sperm while undergoing chemotherapy,” as this can compromise the DNA integrity of sperm and increase the risk of birth abnormalities or pregnancy loss.
Men with no sperm in their ejaculate are likewise not suitable candidates for sperm banking.
Does storing sperm in a freezer pose any dangers to men?
Dr. Brady states, “Most guys have nothing to worry about when it comes to banking ejaculated sperm other than the cost.” “Thawed samples may turn out empty in men with extremely low sperm counts (very few sperm detected per sample). It is widely accepted that freezing does not harm sperm; infants have been born from sperm that was frozen for nearly a decade.”
Dr. Agarwal elaborates, “Storing sperm in a bank does not increase a man’s risk of having a kid born with a genetic defect. The congenital disability rate among the thousands of infants created with frozen sperm is comparable to that of children conceived naturally.”
How much would it cost to freeze my sperm?
This can change if and how your health insurance handles sperm banking.
Dr. Brady explains that if you’re banking sperm for medical reasons, your insurance company might pay for it. “However, banking services are typically excluded. Depending on the facility, freezing and storing a sample can cost several hundred dollars or more.”
To be more precise, Dr. Agarwal provides some numerical examples.
“An individual ejaculate can be frozen and stored for around $786. An annual cost of $260 is charged to store each specimen. Reimbursement is determined by the total number of samples submitted. Prior to cancer treatment, many private insurance companies will pay for all or a portion of the cost of sperm banking.”
How does one go about providing a sperm sample at a sperm bank?
There’s more involved than being given a plastic retrieval cup. And convenience and ease of use should be the top priorities.
“Protecting people’s privacy is crucial throughout the entire sperm banking procedure. It could be embarrassing for the patient to inquire about certain matters. This entire discussion takes place in an isolated, off-the-record situation, “Dr. Agarwal explains. To put the patient at ease, “information is presented in a very personal and professional manner.”
Once you’ve scheduled a collection appointment with a reproductive doctor, the first order of business is to fill out the necessary paperwork.
Dr. Agarwal explains that during the initial consultation, patients will be required to fill out a variety of paperwork pertaining to sperm banking, including a contract and a questionnaire concerning their diagnosis and treatment.
The next step is a collection.
“A separate collecting room is used to gather sperm samples. (Because sample freshness impacts fertility, it is advised that samples be gathered in a controlled environment, such as a laboratory. Sperm count and motility rapidly decline following ejaculation, usually within a few minutes. A sterile specimen collecting cup is provided to the patient, “Dr. Agarwal explains.
The next step is for patients to start collecting.
To prevent bacterial contamination of the semen, Dr. Agarwal recommends “manual stimulation to orgasm,” either by the patient himself or with his wife or significant other. Three to six high-quality specimens should be stored for each desired pregnancy.
In addition, if a patient cannot come into the clinic for any reason, they have the option of collecting their sample at home through masturbation or collection in a condom given by the clinic, using only lubricant permitted by the clinic. Any samples taken at home should be rushed to the clinic as soon as possible (ideally within an hour) for testing.