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Navigating International Sperm Cryopreservation and IVF in the time of COVID-19

PFCLA
27 Sep 2021

In the age of COVID, there are many questions around international travel and how it could impact our intended parents’ journey to new life. With border restrictions limiting international travel, many patients are fearful of the need to postpone certain steps in their IVF treatment. Because of this, the COVID-19 pandemic has made physicians and clinics rethink their approach to allow for a more effective and safer journey by reducing travel in as many scenarios as possible. 

One of the most common questions we encounter is related to semen deposits and sperm cryopreservation, an essential process for many undergoing IVF treatment. Previously, the vast majority of people would need to travel to our clinic to provide semen directly. Now, with travel restrictions still in place and COVID a continued threat, we can provide additional options for our patients.

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What Has Changed About Sperm Cryopreservation?

Before the pandemic, a couple or individual would normally need to travel to our clinic to provide their semen for cryopreservation, which refers to the process of ‘freezing’ sperm to create an embryo at a later date. Today, we’ve expanded our cooperation with other fertility centers in various countries to reduce travel and coordinate international shipping of semen in a cryopreserved state. Some of these regions include the United Kingdom, Australia, Spain, and Hong Kong, and we are often working with others in an attempt to expand our network.

The Process and Importance of FDA Clearance

Often with international patients, FDA clearance of the sperm may be required for one reason or another (for your specific case, please discuss FDA requirements with your physician). One common example is when an egg donor or surrogate is used; this is to assure the safety and health of the individual. When it is required, we must confirm that your local clinic is able to comply with all US FDA regulations prior to proceeding with the tests and deposit. 

When using an approved local clinic, there will typically be two trips needed for your sperm deposit (this is dependent on your clinic’s specific policies and requirements). 

  • The first trip will consist of a blood draw for pre-screening testing in your local country as well as a semen sample for semen analysis. 
  • For the second trip, you need to provide an additional blood sample for your US FDA blood panel and your semen deposit for cryopreservation. 
  • Your blood sample will be sent back immediately to an American lab in an FDA testing kit. Once approved, your semen will then be transported to our facility via a third-party provider, where we will use it when needed to create your embryos.

Simplify International Sperm Cryopreservation with PFCLA

As always, each journey is unique, and your experiences may be different from the above. PFCLA is working hard every day to make the joy of new life possible to everyone across the globe. For more information on your specific scenario, click here and talk with our expert today!

Note: This is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Information provided is for general educational purposes only and is subject to change without notice. Speak to your doctor directly with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Any information contained herein does not replace any care plan as determined by a physician. 

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