Sperm freezing and custody
Freezing sperm allows any male the ability to keep his sperm unchanged for future use. It may be necessary for fertility treatment, for health reasons or for personal reasons
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What is the sperm freezing about?
Sperm freezing consists of keeping the sperm at a very low temperature. First, the semen quality is assessed. Next, a substance (cryoprotectant) is added to the sample that will protect the sperm from cell damage caused by the decrease in temperature. Such decrease will be carried out gradually and slowly. Finally, the sperm will be stored in liquid nitrogen tanks at 196ºC below zero.
How long does it last frozen?
Sperm freezing is a very common procedure in the course of an assisted reproduction treatment. Also, cryopreservation is recommended in the event that the man undergoes surgical / medical treatments that may compromise sperm production.
Thanks to advances in biological sample freezing techniques, semen can remain cryogenized for as long as the patient needs, and the sample will remain unchanged indefinitely.
The Assisted Reproduction Law in force in our country establishes the legal framework within which this technique is carried out. The patient is the only one who can decide on the fate of the frozen semen.
The advantage of having our own sperm bank
Instituto Bernabeu was a pioneer in creating one of the first sperm banks in Spain in 1985. Since then, all most appropriate technological and security measures have been adapted to it. It is conformed to the ISO 9001 standard. The samples from each patient are kept cryogenized in perfectly identified containers in an exclusive location, until the moment of use, complying with strict quality standards.
In which cases is the sperm freezing indicated?
1. In an assisted reproduction treatment,
- either because the male cannot be present on the exact day of the egg retrieval in the fertility treatment; because he lives far away and it’s necessary to leave the sample frozen for its use at the right time;
- or because they are going to undergo reproductive medicine techniques and ejaculating at a certain moment causes great psychological pressure.
2. Before vasectomy it is advisable to freeze semen in the case of desiring offspring in the future.
3. Facing health problems such as testicular tumours or cancer patients undergoing chemo or radiotherapy.
- Testicular cancer is the most common in men in reproductive age and its treatment can be surgical, with the removal of the testicle, or through radio or chemotherapy that can decrease or stop sperm production.
- Also, cancer treatments can compromise the future fertility of the patient. More than 5% of cancerous diseases affect patients under 35 years of age and, although treatment often achieves a cure, it often results in loss of fertility due to the toxicity of the drugs used. In most men, the sperm will disappear within 2-3 months after chemotherapy starts. Depending on the drugs and doses used, the duration of treatment and the individual sensitivity of the patient, it can be recovered, although sequels are usually permanent. Therefore, it is advisable to cryopreserve sperm for future paternity.
4. Men with poor sperm quality or sperm quality that worsens over time. This way they ensure the custody of sperm for future paternity.
5. In case of having a risky job, which may compromise or alter the ability to generate sperm and its quality.
6. Sperm donation. In the same way, the anonymous sperm donation is performed after carrying out medical and psychological controls on the donor, requires the cryogenization of the sperm until the moment of use.