What is sperm freezing?
Cryopreservation is a method that allows sperm to be preserved and stored in a bank for future use.
Although the World Health Organization insists that there is a "very low risk" that with the next Olympic Games there is a greater spread of the zika virus, there are already several athletes what are you considering freeze your sperm just in case.
Freezing sperm allows this sperm to be used in the future in fertility treatments such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) or fertilization in vitro (IVF).
Sperm have been frozen, thawed, and used successfully in treatment after over 40 years, although not all sperm are capable of surviving the freezing process.
What requirements must be met before freezing the semen?
- Before you get the sample of semen, for safety reasons, are carried out serologies of HIV, HVB, HVC and syphilis.
- To try to ensure that the sample has the best possible characteristics, it is recommended that no ejaculation between 1 and a maximum of 3 days before of the collection of the sperm sample. Abstinence of more than 3 days is not recommended.
- Before freezing seminal, it is advisable to do a assessment of the sample status.
How is sperm freezing done?
After collecting the semen sample, it is mixed in a proportion 1: 1 with a freezing medium (cryoprotective) that allows sperm to survive the freezing and storage process.
Semen samples are frozen in liquid nitrogen vapors for 8-10 minutes, allowing the temperature to gradually decrease to minimize cell damage and death. They are then placed in special containers in which they are stored in liquid nitrogen (-196ºC) until needed.
With each ejaculate you can get between one and six vials. Each vial of a patient's semen sample is labeled with the patient's name, the date, and a unique registered number.
The thawing procedure is an equally important step as the freezing one. Cells must be able to recover their normal biological activities, so it is important to try to avoid sudden thermal changes.
The defrosting protocols that are commonly used are:
- At room temperature for 10 min and subsequent thermostat change to 37 ° C for another 10 minutes.
- In a 37 ° C water bath for 10 minutes.
- At room temperature for 15 min.
Once the semen is thawed, it is separated from the cryopreservation medium by washing in culture medium and centrifugation.
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