What is Sperm Freezing?

Sperm freezing is the process of freezing, analyzing, and storing the sperm sample taken from a male patient, to be thawed and used in future IVF treatments in an andrology laboratory. Sperm freezing has been successfully used for a very long time.

Sperm freezing can be successfully used in samples obtained by ejaculation or by surgical means (microTESE, TESA). Especially in cases where sperm is obtained by surgical means, sperm freezing is vital as it eliminates the risk of reoperation for the male patient in possible repetitive IVF trials.

To store frozen sperm cells, the patient must sign the consent forms annually. If the patient dies, does not renew their annual forms, or requests destruction of the sample, the samples are destroyed under the supervision of the Department of Health.

How is Sperm Freezing applied?

For the sperm freezing process, after 2–7 days of sexual abstinence, a sample is given in a room specifically prepared for our male patients. The collected sperm sample is evaluated in terms of volume, number, and mobility, and then divided into special freeze-resistant tubes according to the number and amount.

For patients with a low sperm count, the freezing process is repeated several times to reach a sufficient count. To prevent damage to the sperm during the freezing process, a protective solution is added equal to the sample volume. After mixing, the sample is kept in liquid nitrogen vapor at -196 C and then fully submerged in the -196 C liquid nitrogen in the specialized tanks. Sperm samples can be safely stored in these specialized tanks for years without any damage.

Under what conditions is sperm freezing used?

Processes that can harm sperm production, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. This way, the reproduction ability of the patients is secured.

Sperm should be frozen before surgery or medication that can interfere with sperm production.

In cases of cryptozoospermia with a very low sperm count, sperm is frozen before the treatment to guarantee success.

In some patients, sperm may not be found in all the samples. In this case, sperm should certainly be frozen.

In patients who suffer from ejaculatory problems due to spinal injury.

In patients who undergo surgical sperm collection (MicroTESE) after an azoospermia diagnosis, the found sperm cells should be frozen to prevent a repeat surgery in case of successive IVF treatments.

How are sperm cells stored?

After being frozen in liquid nitrogen at -196 C, the sperm samples are stored in specialized tanks. The positions of the samples are determined using a specialized mapping system. The liquid nitrogen level in these tanks is regularly measured and tracked. The sperm samples that were placed in the tanks after freezing can be safely stored in tanks for years as long as they are not removed from the tank.


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