Sperm freezing is a process by which sperm cells are frozen. The process of freezing sperm cells is utilized so that they can be stored and preserved for future use. Sperm freezing is utilized for a number of reasons. Some of the more common examples of why sperm cell freezing is undertaken include a man facing certain types of chemotherapy or radiation treatment. The process is also utilized when a man might be away or unavailable at the time of a scheduled assisted reproductive treatment.
Other reasons for sperm freezing include an anticipated vasectomy or participating in a sport that comes with a high risk of injury. High risk jobs of certain types may also be the foundational reason for seeking sperm freezing. Finally, some people with diabetes may seek sperm freezing when erectile dysfunction is becoming an issue.
How Does Sperm Freezing Work?
The process of sperm freezing begins with the ejaculation of sperm into a sterile container. If ejaculation is not possible for any reason, sperm cells can be extracted from the testicles and placed into a sterile container. A sperm donation can be made in a facility, medical center, office, or other location.
If sperm is to be collected via ejaculation, a man is asked to refrain from ejaculating for two to seven days prior to a scheduled appointment. Once collected, the sperm can be segregated for up to six months. This is done to ensure it is disease free.
Specialized cooling and freezing technology is utilized to freeze sperm cells. The freezing process utilizes liquid nitrogen. Sperm cells are frozen to -196°C. Sperm cells can be stored in this state for an indefinite period of time while maintaining reasonable quality.