10 Jul More Men Freezing Sperm During COVID-19 Pandemic
More men are seeking sperm cryopreservation during COVID-19 — in fear that the coronavirus pandemic will also destroy their ability to build a family or add to their family.
“We’ve seen a recent change in male fertility. Men are taking notice and becoming more educated on their fertility. Regardless of COVID-19, men too, see a gradual decline in sperm quality, so it’s not uncommon to see more men freezing their sperm,” stated Dr. Arlene Morales, Fertility Specialists Medical Group.
Sperm banking is booming in popularity and it’s not just the men. Fertility clinics are now seeing a rise in women wanting to freeze their eggs amid fears of the coronavirus. It’s all about preserving for the future.
What is Sperm Freezing?
Sperm freezing, also known as sperm cryopreservation, is the preservation of a man’s sperm for future reproductive use. During IVF, a thawed sample provides your fertility doctor access to viable sperm samples.
Sperm freezing involves obtaining a man’s semen sample, separating the sperm for analyzation — and freezing and storing it in liquid nitrogen.
Who Can Benefit from Freezing Sperm?
You may need access to frozen sperm to build your family, particularly for IVF cycles. Sperm freezing is an option for the following reasons:
- Cancer treatment. Chemotherapy, radiation, or surgical procedures for certain types of cancer can result in infertility.
- Relationships. Men may want to delay fatherhood until they find the right partner but desire to preserve their sperm when they are most fertile.
- Sperm Donor. Some men choose to donate sperm for couples who cannot get pregnant due to male infertility.
- Transgender and transitioning. Sperm freezing is an option for individuals who are transitioning and would like to preserve their sperm for future use.
- Military. Men who are deployed in the military or other occupations that keep them away from home for extended periods of time.
What is the Sperm Freezing Process?
The cryopreservation process starts with gathering ejaculated seminal fluids that contain sperm. In cases where a structural abnormality such as a varicocele is present, surgical retrieval is explored.
Once a semen sample is collected, it is immediately transferred to a laboratory for analysis of the quality and quantity of the specimen. Sperm are frozen for storage using one of two methods, slow freezing or vitrification. Vitrification is an innovative process that utilizes cryopreserving chemicals to keep water crystals from forming within the biologic tissue and freezes the sperm instantly.
Once frozen, sperm can be stored for an indefinite period. When ready to use the frozen samples, they are carefully thawed and used in IUI or IVF at FSMG.