Sperm & Oocyte Freezing

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Sperm Freezing

Semen freezing (commonly called sperm banking) is a process in which sperm cells are preserved. Semen can be used successfully for a long time after freezing them.

Sperm can be used in the future for many purposes like assisted reproductive technology or they can also be donated.

Patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy, vasectomy, certain types of pelvic surgery or having DM, high-risk occupation like the army or sports are advised to get their sperms frozen.

The patients are requested to produce a fresh sample of semen. It is then checked for sperm count, sperm motility, their shape. A cryoprotectant (a substance which reduces damage to the biological cells after freezing) is added to the sperms and stored in vials. These vials are then frozen to -196oc in liquid nitrogen tanks.

All the biological and biochemical processes are stopped at such a low temperature. Sperms are normally stored for the maximum of 10 years in the sperm bank.

Whenever the patient and his partner want to conceive, the sperms can be used to perform artificial reproductive techniques like IUI, IVF, and ICSI. The details of these procedures are given somewhere else in the website.

Oocyte Freezing:

Oocyte literally means egg. Oocyte freezing is a procedure to preserve the eggs.

As the age increases the number of eggs that a woman can produce is decreased. The quality of the eggs is also hampered. The quality of the Oocyte decreases once the woman reaches age 35.

With her biological clock ticking, egg freezing is a very good option for women to preserve the fertility. When she is ready to conceive, she can use her own frozen eggs for IVF/ICSI-ET.

Women may choose to freeze their eggs for many reasons. If a woman is undergoing cancer treatments, the radiation and the chemotherapy may affect her ovaries and kill the existing eggs. In this scenario, by egg freezing, she can prevent effects of cancer and conceive later after the treatment. Women might wish to delay to have kids for having a demanding career. If a woman doesn’t want to freeze embryo after an IVF cycle, she can always go for egg freezing.

Freezing eggs is a challenging procedure. The egg is the biggest cell in the body and it contains a lot of water. Previously a slow freezing technique was used. In this technique, it would often lead to the crystallization of this water inside the egg cell. The ice crystals formed in the egg would end up damaging the DNA of the embryo. However, a new technique has been developed. It is known as ultra-rapid method or vitrification. The eggs are cooled from 37oC to -196o C in very few seconds so the water does not get time to form ice crystals.

These procedures play an important role in fertility preservation. Do you want to undergo this treatment? Contact our Centre and get the best out of the treatment options.