Many men prefer to plan ahead when it comes to starting a family. There are many men who for various reasons, wish to preserve their sperm for future use, too. For them, sperm freezing and storage offers the opportunity to conceive a child at the time that is right for them.
As with egg freezing and storage, the process for freezing and storing sperm is much the same as for regular IVF treatment, but instead of using the sperm to fertilise an egg immediately, it is frozen and stored for future use.
If you wish to have your sperm frozen, you will first need to be screened for any conditions that could be passed on through your sperm. Once you have received the all clear, you will be asked to come into the clinic and produce a sperm sample.
The sperm will be immediately frozen, using a fast-freezing process known as ‘vitrification’, then stored in liquid nitrogen until they are needed – usually up to a maximum of 5 years.
Once you are ready to use the sperm, it is thawed and used to fertilise the woman’s eggs through a chosen reproductive technique.
Although men do not usually face the same fertility issues as women with increasing age, there are still many reasons why a man might choose to freeze his sperm.
One common reason for sperm freezing is the diagnosis of a medical condition or prescribed treatment (e.g. chemotherapy) that may affect fertility – sperm freezing allows men in this situation to have a little more peace of mind knowing that they could still have a chance to be a father in the future.
Men with a low or decreasing sperm count, such as men with varicocele, could also benefit from sperm freezing, as could men whose careers place them at regular risk of serious injury.
In addition, men with a difficulty to produce the sample at the clinic collection might want to freeze their sample as a back up for the day of egg collection.
Sperm freezing and storage is currently the only known way to prolong fertility for men. Although, as with any fertility treatment, there is no absolute guarantee that you will be able to conceive a child through sperm freezing, the process has been around for over 40 years and success rates are high.
Lastly, there are some studies showing an increased risk of autism to the offspring when the male partner is at an increased age. For this reason, men might want to freeze their sperm in a younger age as a back-up for fertility preservation in case they decide to have a child at an older age.
We understand that men considering sperm freezing often have other worries besides their fertility, and so we try to make the whole process as simple and stress free as possible.
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