Semen freezing, which is also known as semen cryopreservation or sperm banking, is a procedure that preserves sperm cells. By freezing it, a semen sample can be used in future when required. That is also a sperm bank or surrogacy treatment centre in India stores semen from viable candidates.
The cryopreservation process ensures the viability of the sperm is retained for an indefinite period of time. In future, the frozen semen can be thawed and used to fertilize the female egg, which could be done through an artificial insemination technique like test tube baby treatment. The cost of preserving and thawing the semen is over and above the IVF cost.
Why is Semen Freezing Done?
There are several scenarios where the semen freezing technique is recommended by fertility specialists or chosen by the individuals or couples themselves. These include,
- The Best IVF clinic in India offers the technique as a way to preserve the fertility of men who are undergoing surgeries like orchidectomy (removal of the testicles) or before treatments like radiotherapy or chemotherapy are initiated in the case of cancer.
- Semen cryopreservation is also routinely done as part of an IVF or IVF-ICSI cycle. The purpose of semen freezing during these treatments is to ensure there is a backup sperm sample in case the male partner is unable to produce a sperm sample on the day of egg retrieval.
- Sperm freezing is also recommended to males whose sperm counts are low and falling further. It’s also advised when a male’s sperm quality deteriorates steadily in spite of taking therapeutic measures.
- Semen freezing is also done if the male partner is unable to produce a sperm sample on demand, which is mainly caused by anxiety.
- The method can be part of an IUI treatment if the male partner is not available on days when his female partner ovulates.
- Semen cryopreservation is also used in IUI rounds that are done using donor sperm. The donor sample is quarantined for at least six months. At either end of this six month period, the sample is tested for HIV, HCV, and HBsAg.
- In the event that surgical sperm retrieval techniques like PESA/TESE/MicroTESE are used to obtain sperm, cryopreservation is used to preserve the sperm for use in future IVF-ICSI rounds. This does away with the need to repeat the invasive procedure during the IVF-ICSI cycle.
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How is Semen Freezing Done?
- Prior to the cryopreservation process, the sperm bank doctor or fertility specialist explains the process in detail.
- Before collecting the semen sample, a fertility clinic in India tests the candidate’s blood for HIV, HCV and HBsAg. Depending on the situation and the individual’s health, other tests might be advised.
- After a three day abstinence from ejaculation, the individual is asked to produce a fresh semen sample.
- This semen sample is then analyzed before being frozen. A report of the cryopreservation is generated and shared with the individual on the same day.
- Depending upon the purpose for which the semen sample is frozen for, multiple sperm samples might be asked for.
Dr Pranay Shah
Director and Chief Fertility Consultant
Dr. Divyesh Bhalodia
Counseller and Communicator
Dr. Dhruti Maheshwari
What are the Risks of Semen Freezing?
There are absolutely no risks associated with freezing or cryopreserving human sperm. Moreover, the sperm freezing success rate is very high and the fertilizing ability of a sperm can be preserved indefinitely through cryopreservation. In fact, the IVF success rate in India with fresh as well as frozen and thawed semen is almost identical.
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