Sperm Cryopreservation Explained: History, Benefits, & More


Sperm cryopreservation is essential for men who wish to donate their sperm or preserve their ability to have children later in life. 

Without this fertility service, the quality of your sperm deteriorates with age. As you approach your late 40s, chances of reproducing naturally become limited. Sperm cryopreservation solves for this natural aging process.

But what is it and what does the process entail? This blog will explain everything you need to know, along with why freezing sperm is a highly effective fertility preservation option for men.

What is sperm cryopreservation?

Sperm cryopreservation is the process biologists use to safeguard cells, organelles, tissues, or any other important biological constructs. Sperm freezing entails freezing your semen for future use. 

A history of sperm cryopreservation

The first successful human birth from the sperm freezing process occurred in 1953.  In this case, the sperm was stored in dry ice for a short period of time. 

By 1963, biologists had made significant progress in sperm cryopreservation. They unveiled the use of liquid nitrogen to preserve sperm. Over the years, scientists have further refined the cryopreservation process. Today, it has an impressive and reliable success rate.

Reasons for sperm cryopreservation

Medical Conditions and High-Risk Lifestyle

Men consider sperm cryopreservation for many reasons, such as if they have  received a cancer diagnosis or medical condition that can compromise their ability to have children in the future.

High-Risk Situations

Many also opt to freeze their sperm before starting high-risk occupations, military deployment, or extensive traveling.

Fertility after a vasectomy

If you are interested in a medical procedure such as a vasectomy, sperm cryopreservation could be a good backup should you decide to have kids later on in life.

Partner’s Ovulation Cycle

Sometimes, your partner may ovulate when you are not around. In such circumstances, frozen sperm is an invaluable option for IUI treatment.

Overall, infertility and family building can be stressful for both intended parents. When you finally decide to have a child, sperm freezing can help lift the weight off your shoulders.  

The sperm cryopreservation procedure

The cryopreservation procedure is straightforward. During this process, your sperm is collected through masturbation. Your semen is then taken to the lab within the first hour of production. The andrology technician performs an analysis to determine the quality and quantity of sperm. The technician only requires a small sample for this test.

After the test, andrologists divide the remaining semen into several vials. The number of vials hinges on the sample volume and mobile sperm per milliliter. 

In total, the sperm cryopreservation process takes approximately three hours. On the following day, an andrologist thaws the test vial. The next step of the procedure revolves around examining the motility and number of defrosted sperm.

Risk of sperm cryopreservation

Sperm freezing has minimal risk. For instance, your sperm cells may not maintain their fertility and viability while undergoing the thawing and freezing process. Over 50% of the sperm involved do not survive the exercise. Even so, the entire process has a commendable success rate. 

Your sperm can be frozen for years to come and will still be as good as fresh semen. What matters most is ensuring that they are preserved correctly. When collecting your sperm, andrologists use a clean container that is clearly labeled and sterile tools throughout the entire process. This eliminates any risk of contamination. 

Explore your fertility options with Pacific Fertility Center of Los Angeles

Are you concerned about your ability to have children in the future? Sperm cryopreservation is a notable fertility preservation option for many intended parents. It’s a safe and simple process that helps you realize your dreams of becoming a parent.

At Pacific Fertility Center in Los Angeles, we pride ourselves on working with couples who aspire to be parents in the future. Contact us today, to learn more about sperm cryopreservation or other viable options to your fertility problems.

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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