Sperm cryopreservation (sperm freezing) is the most established method of fertility preservation for men. Sperm freezing has been used for decades in post-pubertal men who need life-saving therapies with a potential to wipe out the testes’ ability to produce sperm, such as chemotherapy and radiation for various types of cancer. Fertility preservation via sperm freezing has also been used in other situations, including prior to military deployment and vasectomy.
Sperm freezing can be done easily and quickly. Unlike experimental methods of fertility preservation for women such as ovarian tissue freezing, sperm freezing is widely available, and inexpensive. In sperm freezing, ejaculated semen is washed, and sperm are frozen in vials. Thawed sperm can be used in the future for intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF) when the patient is ready to have children.
Other Methods of Fertility Preservation for Men
In men who have no sperm in the ejaculate, urologist may use microsurgical techniques to extract sperm directly from the testes. In case of retrograde ejaculation, some sperm may be found in the urine. Sperm obtained this way can also be frozen to preserve fertility.
In addition, for men undergoing radiation therapy, shielding of the testes is also an established technique that should be utilized when feasible.
CHR’s Fertility Preservation Center (FPC) offers sperm freezing and storage as a part of FPC’s comprehensive fertility preservation services. In addition, FPC routinely works with expert urologists who perform the microsurgical procedures, such as TESE, when needed.
Norbert Gleicher, MD, leads CHR’s clinical and research efforts as Medical Director and Chief Scientist. A world-renowned specialist in reproductive endocrinology, Dr. Gleicher has published hundreds of peer-reviewed papers and lectured globally while keeping an active clinical career focused on ovarian aging, immunological issues and other difficult cases of infertility.