Semen freezing

What is semen freezing or the preservation of masculine fertility?

The cryopreservation of semen or the preservation of masculine fertility consists of the freezing and storage of sperm for reproductive purposes. It is a routine and simple process used to preserve a man’s fertility.

Semen samples are stored in a cryoprotective medium that allows them to last for an indefinite period of time, preserving their fertilizing capacity.

The process of freezing semen

Before freezing any semen sample, blood tests are required to determine the risk of infection (tests for HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and syphilis).

The patient will give a first sample that will be analyzed and frozen. Depending on the quality, the patient will be advised about the number of additional samples to be submitted in order to have enough frozen sperm for later use.  Considering this, it is advisable that the patient abstains for 2 to 4 days before the appointment.

The patient will collect the sample at Fertility Madrid in one of in one of our specially designed rooms. Once the sample is obtained and correctly identified, the andrologists will take the sample and proceed with its analysis and subsequent freezing.

To assess quality of the semen it is necessary to perform a semen analysis (concentration, mobility, morphology and sperm vitality), since the information obtained will be the main factor determining the viability of the sample once it is thawed.

The only essential requirement for this technique is that there are mobile sperm in the ejaculate.

The sample is frozen with the help of the use of a cryoprotectant that is added to the ejaculate to avoid causing cellular damage to the sperm. These cryoprotectants dehydrate the cells to prevent the water, when frozen, from breaking the membranes, which would cause cell death.

Once the cryoprotectants are added, the sample is distributed in cryo-tubes or straws that are labeled and identified. The temperature is then gradually lowered and finally they are stored in liquid nitrogen, at -196ºC. It is important to note that it is during the freezing and thawing processes that the sperm can be damaged. During the storage, the sperm quality does not change.

Preventive sperm cryopreservation is a useful technique. But like the fresh semen sample, its future fertilizing capacity is not guaranteed. Even if the semen retains sufficient biological quality after thawing for the purpose of assisted reproduction techniques, pregnancy from these sperm cannot be guaranteed, even if the patient has previously had offspring.

When is semen freezing appropriate?

  • For oncology patients who are going to undergo surgical or aggressive gonadotoxic treatments, which can damage reproductive cells.
  • For patients who are going to have a vasectomy.
  • For patients, who for reasons unrelated to fertility treatment, cannot be available on the day the semen sample is needed.
  • Patients with poor sperm quality in order to ensure that on the day of the follicular puncture there will be sperm available to fertilize the eggs obtained.
  • Patients with difficulties producing a sample.
  • Valuable samples, obtained through testicular biopsy, semen washings from seropositive males…
  • Spanish legislation requires sperm donors to freeze the samples so that a series of tests can be performed to assure that there is no disease transmission.
  • Transgender individuals undergoing sex transition surgery can have their sperm cryopreserved for future use through surrogacy or through assisted reproductive treatments for their partners.

How long do frozen semen samples last?

The time the sample is cryopreserved does not influence the sperm quality. We can therefore keep the samples frozen as long as necessary.

What tests should I do before freezing semen?

Before freezing any semen sample, patients must have current blood tests (HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and syphilis). Additionally, semen quality must be evaluated by means of a semenogram (concentration, mobility, morphology and vitality). This needs to be completed before performing the technique as it will be the main factor in determining the viability of the sample once it is thawed.

Masculine Fertility Preservation in Madrid

At Fertility Madrid you will find the best professionals, treatments and assisted reproductive techniques. These include masculine fertility preservation techniques (semen cryopreservation) that allow you to choose the best moment to have a child. Our fertility clinic is located at Calle General Oraá, 47 (at the corner of Calle Castelló), 28006, near parking, metro lines, buses and hotels.

Come learn more with no obligation to continue with treatment. At Fertility Madrid your first medical consultation is always free.