Sperm Freezing & Vitrification

Embryo Donation

Overview

Another name for sperm is spermatozoon which is in a plural form known as spermatozoa. This is a male reproductive cell, produced by the male gender animals. The sperm looks flagellated as it contains a whip-like tail in the bottom. It further gets attached to the ovum of the female reproductive organ to form a new offspring or to fertilize. The mature sperm cell is mainly divided into two parts that include a head and a tail. The sperm of the human sperms are normally flattened with an almond shape. This is extremely small in nature and cannot be observed with naked eyes.

Cryopreservation or Cryo-conservation is the method of cooling and storing cells, tissues, or organs at a specific temperature so that it can be used for further usage. Normally the Cryopreservation of the Sperm is performed with the help of two different methods that include Freezing and Vitrification.

Everything You Need to Know About Sperm Freezing & Vitrification

Sperm Freezing | Sperm Freezing Process | Sperm Vitrification | Sperm Vitrification Process

What is Sperm Freezing?

Sperm freezing is the process that is used to preserve a man’s sperm cells to enhance fertility. Sperm freezing is also commonly known as Cryopreservation which is performed for the preservation of cells for later use. The process of freezing was first introduced in the 1950s. The cryopreserved embodiment can be used for a longer period of time if used in a proper way. Furthermore, there are reports regarding pregnancy where the sperm was stored for more than 20 years before thawing and insemination.

  • Sperm freezing can be beneficial for sperm donation to infertile couples.
  • This process benefits the men who reduced fertility due to cancer or other health concerns.
  • There is no specific time limit on the feasibility of the sperm.
  • Sperm is considered less sensitive because of the low water content and becomes highly sensitive to cryopreservation damage.
  • There are also several reports that further suggested the cellular damage can also occur at the time of freezing.
  • It also further suggested that there is no risk to the baby that is conceived from the donor sperm.

Related Conditions

What is the process of Sperm Freezing and thawing?

The whole process of Sperm freezing and thawing can be divided into three broad categories that are further described below:

Collection of Semen

At the first stage, the Sperm donors will first conduct the blood tests, to check out any kind of disorder present in the body of the donor including HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. It is up to the donor where he wants to provide the semen. He can choose between the lab and his own house. If the donor further goes for lab then he will be provided with a private room.

While collecting the semen it is recommended that the man should not perform a two or five day’s prior ejaculation from the day of providing the sample. He should perform the ejaculation not too early and not too late but something in between.

The count of sperm from a single ejaculation can be from 40-600 million depending on the amount of semen provided by the donor.

The samples of the semen are stored in the sterile container so that the lab technicians can further perform the verification of the sperms by looking at the volume, Viscosity, and pH levels. In addition, with the help of a microscope the motility, sperm count, morphology, and other important factors can also be determined.

Sperm Freezing

Freezing can be named as Cryprotectant and is performed to control the damage of the sperm so that it can be further used by other persons to achieve pregnancy. In addition, Cryprotectant mainly occurs in the low-molecular-weight with a great combination of chemicals that further protects the sperms from freeze damage.

Sperm freezing can be further divided into two techniques:

  • Slow Freezing

This is a slow process of cooling that involves almost 3-4 hours and is conquered in 2-3 steps. In the last step, the semen is stored in a machine with liquid nitrogen at -196 degrees Celsius.

  • Rapid Freezing

In this process, the semen is also stored at -196 degrees Celsius but this process is not as slow as the previous one. This only takes about 8 minutes and happens with direct contact of the sample with the nitrogen.

Thawing of Sperm

The thawing process is the recovery of the sperm cell in its normal biological state without any thermal change. This is a crucial step and is performed with accurate guidance. The normal thawing of sperm is performed at a temperature of 37 degrees Celsius.

After the thawing process, the sperm cell is removed from the cryopreservation with the help of a culture medium and centrifuging.

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Sexologist and Infertility Specialist

What is Sperm Vitrification?

Sperm Vitrification is further another form of Cryopreservation that includes the ultra-rapid freezing procedure to change the texture of the cells commonly found in the sperms into an ice-crystal state. This includes the new technique that uses an ultra-fast cooling technique with a higher concentration of Cryopreservation and further does not cause any harm to the sperms.

  • The Vitrification of Sperm is a good-to-go protocol that is performed with a ‘droplet method’ of sperm.
  • This process further shows a >70% of mobility and viability. It also shows a rate of 25%-30% of survival when compared with the original sperm freezing methods.
  • Furthermore, this step is providing the beneficiary of using no harmful cell permeating and also does not require any expensive machinery for performing this program.

What is the process of Sperm Vitrification?

To follow the Vitrification the urologist or doctor further performs the following steps:

  • The doctor can perform the method of Ichachenko, which further includes 2 stages including, straining of the semen with a tea strainer. The second one is changing the temperate to 42 degrees Celsius instead of 37 degrees Celsius.
  • The doctor or urologist takes the semen and places them in a bath with a very low concentration of cryoprotectant. The liquid further contains sucrose that helps to draw water out of the sperm cells.
  • In addition, the team of urologists further places the cells with a high concentration of the solution. This is performed for a period of fewer than 12 minutes. This process instantly freezes the organisms and also does not create the formation of the ice crystals.
  • This process can be performed in both eggs, and sperms apart from the embryo and can last for a long period of time after the verification.

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Dr. Ramit Raosaheb Kamate

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Dr. Ramit Kamate is a Reproductive Medicine Consultant and Sexologist with experience of 12+ years. He specialises in Sexual Medicine for male and female, Fertility Treatment, Pre and Post Delivery Care, Normal Vaginal Delivery (NVD), Tubectomy/Tubal Ligation, Natural Cycle IVF, MTP.

Dr. Ramit Kamate finished MBBS from B J Medical College, Pune. He pursued Masters’s In Reproductive Medicine from Hamilton University, UK & IBCME Dubai. Completed Fellowship in Cosmetic Gynaecology and Sexual Medicine from USA.

Freezing & Vitrification of Sperm

by | Nov 2, 2021

Freezing & Vitrification of Sperm

by | Nov 2, 2021

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