Sperm freezing can preserve fertility for men who:
- Are about to have treatment for cancer, or undergo prostate or testicular surgery, all of which can harm sperm quality or production
- Men who live away from their spouse or will not be present during the day of an assisted reproductive treatment – IUI or IVF
- Plan to have a vasectomy.
- Are in high-risk professions with exposure to chemicals, radiation or extreme heat that can cause sterility.
- Suffer ejaculatory dysfunction.
It is preferable if, before your first appointment, blood tests for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, syphilis and HIV are arranged. We routinely screen for these infections because they may be transmitted through the semen, and to minimize the risk of contamination during storage.
Sperm samples are collected, prepared and frozen as soon as practical in order to achieve the best survival rate when subsequently thawed.
If you are unable to produce a sperm sample or if there are no sperm in the semen, it may be possible to collect sperm directly from the testicles in a procedure called a testicular biopsy, where the sperm is obtained by passing a fine needle directly into the testicle under local or general anesthetic.
These sperm, while usually few in number, may be used at a later date for IVF or ICSI.
About 25-50% of the sperm will survive the process of freezing, and they can be stored for many years.
When pregnancy is desired, IUI or IVF can be done. Success rates using frozen-thawed sperm are comparable to freshly collected sperm in men with normal semen parameters undergoing IVF.
Fertility preservation is beneficial in various circumstances, including where:
- You have a severe illness such as cancer and must undergo treatment that may result in the loss of fertility.
- You want to have children but are not ready to do so now and are concerned about the effects aging might have on your family’s chances.
- You are at risk of early menopause.
- You have a genetic disorder that may limit fertility.