Male Fertility FAQ

Everything you need to know about male fertility

What affects sperm quality?

Semen quality is basically evaluated according to the following parameters: concentration (number of sperm detected per 1 ml of semen), motility (sperm movement) and morphology (percentage of normal sperm).

Sperm quality may show temporary or permanent damage. A high fever or recent exposure to toxic substances can also impair sperm quality, as can radiological applications performed near the testicles. Male age may also partially affect sperm quality, as well as excessive alcohol use and/or heavy smoking.

Levels of semen quality fluctuate in a yearly basis and may also vary in each ejaculation. According to the WHO recommendations, in order to evaluate most accurately the variation of semen quality, it is recommended to examine two semen samples collected at a time distance of 1 to 2.5 months.

Is it worth storing my sperm if its quality is low?

Considering the progress that has been achieved in the field of assisted reproductive methods, sperm cryopreservation is a reasonable choice, even if its concentration or motility is low.

With the application of modern in vitro fertilization techniques, it is possible to create an embryo by the injection of one live spermatozoon in an oocyte.

In case semen quality is better, it may be used for the application of simpler, less invasive methods to achieve a pregnancy, e.g. intrauterine insemination.

When should sperm freezing be initiated?

Semen collection and cryopreservation can be initiated as soon as possible. Even though sperm production in the testes is continuous, a specific duration is necessary in order for the quantity to be recovered after each ejaculation. It is recommended that each sample be collected after 48 hours post ejaculation.

Usually, it is advised to collect several samples with an abstinence time of about 2 to 4 days.

How many semen samples should be banked?

Usually, it is advised to cryopreserve multiple samples, but if the time frame is limited, keeping even one sample is worth the effort.

With the application of modern in vitro fertilization techniques, it is possible to create an embryo by the injection of one live spermatozoon in an oocyte. Sperm cryopreservation is therefore a justifiable choice, even if semen quality is relatively low.

Generally, preserving more semen samples allows the performance of more reproductive cycles.

For every intended pregnancy, it is recommended to collect 3-6 semen samples, depending on sperm quality.

For how long can semen samples be safely cryopreserved?

According to contemporary scientific data, semen quality is not affected even after many years of cryopreservation at ultralow temperatures.

Semen freezing may allow even an adolescent or young adult to become a father many years later, when he decides to create his own family.

How are semen samples collected?

Semen samples may be collected in a special, comfortable room located in the Sperm Bank. In case the patient is in the hospital, it is also possible that an authorized person can transfer the samples with specific appointment.

You are advised to arrange an appointment before your visit to the Sperm Bank. Specific instructions regarding the sample’s collection and transfer are provided by the personnel of CRYOGONIA during the phone communication.

What happens after the sample collection?

Every semen sample is carefully identified using a special coding system and labeling, which ensures the precise traceability and confidentiality of the data. Each sample is labeled with the patient’s name, a unique code and the date of freezing.

 

A small aliquot of every semen sample is examined with regard to the basic sperm parameters before freezing, i.e.:

  • Semen volume
  • Sperm motility
  • Motility index

The rest of the sample is diluted with a special cryoprotectant medium, which protects the biological properties of the spermatozoa during the freezing process.

The sample is gradually put in special freezing containers (straws or paillettes) at several aliquots of low volume (0.5 ml). The total number of straws depends on the total volume of the semen sample.

The freezing process starts directly after the straw filling and is performed using a semi-automated system which permits the gradual temperature decrease from room temperature to ultra low levels (< 0 °C). This step protects the spermatozoa from the damage that an abrupt temperature fall would cause.

At the end of the freezing cycle, the samples are submerged in liquid nitrogen and then placed in special long term cryopreservation tanks.

Semen may be preserved at a final temperature of -196 °C indefinitely. CRYOGONIA Sperm Bank offers semen cryopreservation for long time periods, following the patient’s consent and its renewal at regular intervals.

What happens during thawing?

During thawing, some of the frozen spermatozoa do not survive. The recovery of functional spermatozoa that survive the freeze-thawing cycle depends on the endogenous endurance of each semen sample and cannot be predicted with certainty.

How can I use my frozen semen samples?

When you are ready to use your cryopreserved semen for an assisted reproductive method, you must notify the Sperm Bank as soon as possible, preferably 1-2 weeks before the scheduled attempt.

The semen sample can be transferred to any doctor or fertility clinic you specify on a written special consent form.

What are the costs of the procedure?

Semen testing and freezing is charged with a total sum which is relative to the total number of collected samples – there is a discount in case more than one samples are collected.

The cryopreservation costs are determined on a monthly basis and cover all cryopreserved samples.

Thawing and transport costs are also charged to the patient.

faq-icon

Contact us

If you want to ask a question that is not listed in the FAQs, or need any clarification, please do not hesitate to contact us.