What Is Sperm Freezing/Sperm Cryopreservation

The male body begins producing sperm when he is about 11-13 years old and continues throughout his life. However, the quality and quantity of sperm decrease as he ages, affecting reproductive ability and potentially causing infertility. Therefore, freezing sperm (Sperm Freezing or Sperm Cryopreservation) helps preserve healthy sperm for many years without losing quality. It is an important option for men who wish to have children in the future or those with conditions that may affect sperm quality, ensuring that high-quality sperm is available for fertilization indefinitely.



What Is Sperm Freezing/Sperm Cryopreservation

Semen freezing, or sperm freezing, is a process that uses cold temperatures to preserve and maintain the integrity of sperm or semen for later artificial insemination or fertilization with an egg outside the body. When semen is collected, the doctor analyzes the quantity, shape, and movement of sperm. The semen is then divided into glass tubes and frozen at -196 degrees Celsius until it is used. During this process, water inside the cells is removed to minimize the formation of ice crystals as the temperature decreases, thus preventing damage to the sperm.

During sperm freezing, sperm stop moving but remain alive and intact. In cases where no sperm are found in the semen, the doctor may collect sperm directly from the testicles using procedures like PESA/TESE before freezing them.

Therefore, for males at risk of infertility due to congenital diseases or serious illnesses, or for those who choose not to marry yet wish to preserve the option of having children in the future, sperm freezing provides a viable solution. This process maintains the quality of sperm throughout storage, ensuring it can be used in procedures like ICSI or IVF when needed.


The Sperm Freezing Procedures

  1. Consult with a Specialist: Schedule an appointment with a medical specialist to review your medical history.
  2. Abstain from Sexual Activity: Refrain from sexual intercourse or ejaculation for at least 2-3 days before the procedure.
  3. Preliminary Blood Screening: Undergo blood tests to screen for any underlying conditions that may affect the procedure.
  4. Clean Genital Area: Thoroughly clean the genital area before collecting the sperm sample.
  5. Private Collection Room: Enter the designated private room at the clinic to collect the sperm sample into a provided container.
  6. Sperm Collection: Once the sperm sample is collected (typically containing more than 15 million sperm per milliliter), it is sent to the Andrology Lab for a semen analysis. This analysis ensures the sample’s viability and quality in a sterile, temperature, and humidity-controlled environment.
  7. Add Cryoprotectant: Mix the sperm with a cryoprotectant solution to prevent ice crystal formation and maintain sperm integrity during freezing.
  8. Freezing Process: Utilize the vitrification method, rapidly reducing the temperature and storing the sperm in liquid nitrogen at -196 degrees Celsius to halt sperm movement, preserving it for future use.
  9. Storage Duration: The sperm freezing process takes approximately 30 minutes per individual. The stored sperm can remain viable for over 20 years, as long as it is kept in liquid nitrogen. The quality remains unchanged, making it a valuable resource for addressing future fertility issues.

Using Frozen Sperm

The results of thawing frozen sperm and using it have shown that the survival rate after thawing is sufficiently high to be effectively utilized in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART).

Research has found that sperm can be preserved for more than 20 years when frozen, making it a safe and effective method. Babies born using frozen sperm show no significant differences compared to those born through natural methods in terms of birth weight, absence of disabilities, or chromosomal abnormalities.



Sperm freezing: Your future family on hold

  • Helps Treat Infertility

Sperm freezing can be a vital tool in overcoming infertility challenges, providing a viable option for future fertility treatments such as IVF or IUI.

  • Preserves Sperm Before Medical Treatments

By freezing sperm before undergoing medical treatments like chemotherapy or radiation, men can ensure their sperm remains healthy and viable for future use, safeguarding their fertility.

  • Provides Sperm Backup for Future Use

Sperm freezing offers a reliable backup plan, allowing men to store sperm for future use, whether they face health issues or are planning a vasectomy.

  • Reduces Anxiety

Knowing that sperm is safely stored and available for future use can significantly reduce anxiety for men concerned about their fertility, offering peace of mind and assurance.


Why consider freezing sperm?

Semen freezing is a method in which sperm is frozen at low temperatures, with sperm quality believed to remain stable for up to ten years. This multifunctional approach is beneficial for planning a family or wanting to have many children, especially in older individuals, where sperm quality might decline, potentially leading to infertility. However, it is considered a method with some safety concerns and warnings.

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Who Needs to Think About Freezing Sperm?

  •  Planning for the Future: This one’s pretty straightforward. If you know you want kids someday but just aren’t ready yet, freezing sperm gives you options.
  •  Vasectomy Buddies: Considering a vasectomy but want to keep the door open for having biological children later? Sperm freezing is your friend.
  •  IVF or IUI Patients: Sometimes things don’t go according to plan. Freezing sperm beforehand ensures you have a backup if you can’t provide a sample on the day needed.
  •  Facing Fertility Challenges: Low sperm count or motility can make getting pregnant difficult. Sperm freezing can provide a solution.
  •  Medical Treatments: Cancer treatments and some surgeries can affect fertility. Freezing sperm beforehand offers peace of mind.
  •  Considering Hormone Therapy: Certain treatments, like testosterone replacement, might impact sperm production. Freezing sperm can be a wise pre-emptive step.
  •  High-Risk Professionals: Soldiers, construction workers, athletes – anyone in a high-injury profession might consider sperm freezing as a safety net.


Getting Ready to Freeze

There are a few things to keep in mind before your appointment:

  • Get Checked: Screening for STDs is important.
  • Hold Off: Avoid ejaculation for 2-3 days before (but not more than a week!).
  • Ditch the Bad Habits: Alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs are a no-go for a few days.
  • Cool It: Skip hot tubs and long bike rides – heat can affect sperm quality.
  • Baggy is Better: Tight underwear can decrease sperm quality.
  • Live Healthy: Eating well, getting enough sleep, and managing stress all help.
  • Relaxation is Key: Stress can be a sperm killer, so stay calm.
  • Medications: If your sperm count is low, your doctor might recommend medication to boost it.

How Long Does It Last?

The good news? Properly frozen sperm (at -196°C!) can stay viable for many years, potentially even indefinitely.

Success and Safety

Studies show frozen sperm can stay viable for over 20 years, and babies conceived this way are just as healthy as naturally conceived ones. The success rate using frozen sperm in fertility treatments is around 70-80%, depending on factors like sperm quality and the man’s age.

Cost and Considerations

Sperm freezing typically costs around 7,000 baht, including the initial process and the first year of storage. Additional storage fees apply.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does frozen sperm get worse over time?

A: Not if it’s frozen properly at -196°C!


Q: How do they thaw it for use?

A: It’s carefully thawed in a lab and then prepared for fertilization methods like IVF or IUI.


Q: Are kids from frozen sperm healthy?

A: Absolutely! Just as healthy as naturally conceived children.


Q: Should I freeze sperm before cancer treatment?

A: Yes, it’s highly recommended before starting chemo or radiation.


Q: Do healthy young men need to freeze sperm?

A: It’s a smart precaution against unforeseen health issues or accidents that could impact fertility.


Q: Where should I go for sperm freezing?

A: Choose a reputable clinic with experienced fertility specialists and accredited labs for the best care and technology.


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