Sperm freezing, cryopreservation options for men facing cancer or illness
In order to obtain an optimal semen specimen for cryopreservation, we recommend abstinence from ejaculation for two to five days prior to collecting. The specimen can be collected either at home or at Ovation or San Antonio IVF.
Collection at our facility can be arranged by appointment only Monday through Friday. Our staff will provide you with the necessary forms and direct you to a private room for collection. If collecting at home, the specimen should be collected in a container provided by TFC. The specimen should be maintained close to body temperature and brought to our office within an hour of collection.
For maximum quality, a specimen should be obtained by masturbation, preferably avoiding any gels or chemicals that might interfere with semen evaluation. Upon receiving the semen sample, a semen analysis will be completed to document the quality of the specimen. The results will be reported to you. The number of specimens recommended for cryopreservation will depend on this analysis and the medical circumstances.
What is the process for freezing sperm?
A cryoprotective solution is added to the specimen before freezing. Once treated, the semen is divided into aliquots with sperm numbers appropriate for its intended use (IUI or ICSI). The aliquots are placed in clearly labeled vials for cryopreservation and frozen in liquid nitrogen. A small sample of the specimen is then thawed for an analysis post-freeze.
The cryopreserved sperm will be stored in tanks filled with liquid nitrogen. The tanks are inspected daily and are replenished as needed. They are also continuously monitored with a security system to guarantee appropriate storage conditions.
TFC stores frozen sperm for a limited amount of time for patients who plan to use it in forthcoming fertility treatments. For long-term storage, after freezing, TFC will coordinate with you the transfer of the specimen to a long-term storage bank. This sperm can be shipped to the bank and then shipped back to TFC once treatment is commenced.
Infectious disease screening prior to freezing sperm
Before collection for cryopreservation, the following tests are required:
- HIV 1 and 2 Antibody
- Hepatitis B Surface Antigen
- Hepatitis B Core Antibody
- Hepatitis C Antibody
- Rapid Plasma Reagin for Syphilis testing
TFC requires separate storage for specimens of patients who have tested positive for any of these infectious diseases.