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Nowadays IVF is a commonly known reproductive technology. It is “in vitro fertilization”. IVF works with the combination of medicines and surgical measures. It helps the sperm to fertilize with the egg and then the fertilized egg (called embryo) is safely placed in the uterus.
The procedure of Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) involves injecting a single sperm into the egg rather than adding the sperm to egg in a lab dish.
Even in cases when a man does not have good quality sperm or has a low quality sperm or no sperm at all in the serum due to any genetic disorder or illness etc. Then, in those cases, the IVF procedure can be started by collecting the sperm of a man directly from the testicle by way of biopsy.
The collected sperm then can be either use in its fresh form to fertilize the egg or can be frozen for future use. Both the ways are equally successful.
The process of collecting, freezing and storing sperm refers to cryopreservation. Stored sperms are banked into a sperm bank and used later in reproductive procedures. Human sperm can be stored for maximum 22 years.
There are factors that affect the optimization of semen preservation:
Biological factors – sexual abstinence, seminal fluid quality
Technical factors – cryopreservation medium, addition or removal of cryoprotectant, cooling rate, packaging of sperm, storage of sperm, storing temperature and thawing process.
Process in freezing sperm involves:
• Initial step after collection of semen is screening for infections like HIV, hepatitis etc.
• Once the regular screening of semen is done, sperm extraction starts.
• After extraction of sperm, the quality and quantity of sperm is analysed in the laboratory. Poor quality sperms are separated and viable sperms are freeze and stored.
Reasons to opt for freezing sperms:
• If someone is facing a medical treatment that can cause infertility.
• If a man’s sperm count is declining the quality is deteriorating.
• If the patient for IVF has difficulty in producing a sperm on the same day of fertility procedure.
• In cases where the profession keeps the person at risk of injury or death, for example being a member in armed force.
• If a man if going for gender reassigning surgery or having a reconstructive surgery. Both the surgeries have chances of partial or total loss of fertility. In those cases, it is recommended to get the sperms freeze for future.
• A man going for vasectomy surgery also choose to get their sperm freeze so that in case they change their mind to have more children, there sperm will be available.