Sperm cryopreservation is a good idea for males who want to have kids in the future. However, many may not be fully aware of the process of freezing sperm. For instance, your semen sample should undergo a freeze-thaw test before it is cryopreserved.
What exactly does this test accomplish? Why is it necessary? Let’s dive into the answers to these questions about frozen sperm and more!
The Process for Sperm Cryopreservation
To properly freeze and store your sperm, you’ll need to navigate through a series of key steps with your male fertility clinic. Each provider may have variations in their process, but you can generally expect the following steps along your fertility preservation journey.
- Cryopreservation Consultation – You’ll meet with your male fertility specialist to discuss options for freezing sperm and learn more about the process.
- Collecting your Sample – Unlike other providers, our team at Posterity Health will send you an at-home collection kit, so you don’t even need to visit a clinic. The at-home kit is convenient, easy, and includes simple instructions, including information about needing to abstain from sex or masturbation for roughly 2-3 days to ensure an appropriate sample.
- Testing and Freezing – Once your sample arrives at the testing facility, your sperm will be frozen. Then a small portion will be thawed for testing (i.e., semen analysis, freeze-thaw test).
- Follow-Up Results Review – You’ll discuss the results of your semen analysis and/or freeze-thaw test with your specialist and develop a plan for additional collections if necessary to make sure you can achieve your family building goals in the future
By the end of the final step, your sperm will be frozen and properly stored at a secure facility for your later use.
Understanding The Freeze-Thaw Test
In order to successfully freeze and store your sperm, your sample will be placed in a deep freeze storage tank that contains liquid nitrogen. That storage tank will have temperatures as low as -321° Fahrenheit or -196° Celsius (NIH). This cold storage area will slow down your sperm cells and they will slowly freeze.
The lab technician will then perform a freeze-thaw test on a small amount of your sperm 24-48 hours after the sample is frozen. This test allows the lab techs to evaluate how your semen sample withstands the sperm freezing and thawing process. This is an important step because:
- The freezing and thawing process can result in a slight decline in sperm quality and sperm motility
- The test assesses how well your sperm can survive the freezing and thawing process
- It gives you an idea of the total motile sperm count to expect from your sample when your sperm is ready to be used
Without this test, there’s no effective way to know how many sperm will be viable when it’s finally time to thaw and use them in the future. Roughly 50% to 66% of sperm may die during the freezing and thawing cycle, depending on the individual and sample. As such, it’s important to get an accurate sense of your sperm’s viability from the freeze-thaw test.
If your sperm motility or quality drops significantly after the test, additional cycles of freezing sperm may be required for the best possible outcome in the future.
Your test results may also provide insights for your male fertility specialist.
The Posterity Difference for Freezing Sperm
At Posterity Health, we specialize in a multitude of male fertility services and treatments, including sperm cryopreservation. Our team of male fertility specialists strives to go above and beyond when it comes to any male fertility needs.
In addition to the freeze-thaw test, we will perform a semen analysis on your sample before freezing it. This evaluation helps reveal quantitative data and information about the health of your sperm. During your telehealth follow-up conversation, we’ll discuss your semen analysis results and, if needed, develop a treatment plan to improve your sperm health.
Regardless of your analysis or test results, our team will provide expert recommendations for your overall fertility and family-building plans.
Get Started with Posterity Health
Our mission at Posterity Health is to help couples get pregnant. We want to give you the confidence that your healthy sperm will be safe and ready to use when you’re ready. No matter what your current situation may be, we can help you secure your future fertility with cryopreserved sperm.
Contact us today for a free 10-minute consultation about sperm cryopreservation with our male fertility experts.