Semen Banking – Preserving Fertility for a Future Family

Semen Banking

Semen Banking – Preserving Fertility for a Future Family

Semen banking, a pivotal component of assisted reproductive technology (ART), involves the cryopreservation of spermatozoa for future use, holding profound significance in the quest for genetic offspring. Particularly crucial for cancer patients facing surgery or chemotherapy, semen banking offers a lifeline to preserve fertility amidst medical challenges. The desire to have one’s own genetic descendants becomes attainable through the foresight of storing sperm, ensuring future family-building possibilities.

Cryopreservation, the cornerstone technique employed in semen banking, entails freezing gametes at sub-zero temperatures, allowing their later thawing for use. This method, rooted in historical milestones dating back to 1776, has evolved with discoveries like glycerol as a cryoprotectant.

Today, semen banking stands as a beacon of hope, aligning with Mom IVF’s commitment to personalized fertility treatments. By safeguarding genetic material, this practice resonates with individuals navigating various reproductive challenges, embodying a compassionate approach toward fulfilling the profound human desire for parenthood.

Historical Perspective

Semen banking traces its roots back to 1776 when Spallanzani observed the recovery of sperm after freezing, marking the earliest recognition of the potential for cryopreservation. However, significant advancements came much later in the mid-20th century.

In 1949, Polge made a groundbreaking discovery by identifying glycerol as a cryoprotectant. This finding revolutionized the field of cryopreservation, allowing for the freezing and storage of biological materials, including spermatozoa. Glycerol, with its ability to stabilize cell membranes, reduce freezing points, and prevent ice crystal formation, became a key component in preserving the viability of sperm at sub-zero temperatures.

A pivotal moment occurred in 1963 when Sherman reported the birth of a child conceived using sperm frozen in liquid nitrogen. This marked the first successful application of frozen sperm in assisted reproduction, establishing cryopreservation as a viable method for preserving male fertility.

Since then, continuous research and technological advancements have refined cryopreservation techniques, making it a cornerstone in fertility treatments, especially for cancer patients undergoing therapies that may compromise their reproductive health.

The historical evolution of semen banking reflects a journey from early observations to the development of sophisticated cryoprotective methods, ultimately fulfilling the timeless human aspiration of having genetically connected offspring.

Indications for Semen Banking

Donor Insemination

Meeting ICMR criteria for donor screening ensures the selection of healthy sperm donors, providing a reliable option for couples facing azoospermia or severe male factor infertility. By adhering to stringent screening protocols, we guarantee the safety and suitability of donor sperm, offering a viable solution for couples struggling with fertility issues.

Preserving Male Fertility

Before chemotherapy, semen banking becomes crucial for cancer patients. TESA/PESA procedures allow for the collection and storage of sperm, ensuring the preservation of male fertility even when facing the potential impact of cancer treatments. We support individuals in safeguarding their reproductive potential amidst challenging health conditions.

ART Procedures

In cases of ejaculatory failure or the inability to provide a sample on the day of the procedure, such as IVF/IUI, Mom IVF offers assistance through semen banking. Additionally, individuals with nonmalignant chronic diseases, like diabetes or autoimmune disorders requiring immunomodulators, can benefit from preserving their sperm for future fertility treatments. Furthermore, we facilitate vasectomy reversal procedures, enabling individuals to pursue parenthood after a previous contraceptive choice.

Criteria for Donor Sperm in AID

In Artificial Insemination with Donor Sperm (AID), stringent criteria govern the selection of donor sperm to ensure optimal chances of successful conception. Donor sperm must meet specific parameters to be considered suitable for use in fertility treatments. These parameters include volume, motility, count, and normal morphology.

Volume: The quantity of sperm in the sample is assessed to ensure an adequate amount for fertilization.

Motility: Sperm motility is crucial, as it determines the sperm’s ability to move effectively towards the egg, increasing the likelihood of successful fertilization.

Count: The concentration of sperm in the sample is evaluated to ascertain that it meets the necessary threshold for fertilization.

Normal Morphology: The assessment of sperm shape and structure is essential, as abnormalities can impact the sperm’s ability to penetrate and fertilize the egg.

These stringent criteria ensure that the donor sperm utilized in AID at Mom IVF aligns with the highest standards, maximizing the chances of a successful and healthy pregnancy for couples facing challenges in natural conception.

Semen Sample Collection

Methods

Masturbation:

Masturbation is the most common method for semen sample collection. It is suitable for post-pubertal boys and adult males. Following an abstinence period of 3-4 days, individuals collect their semen through masturbation. For cancer patients or those with unique circumstances, the abstinence period may be adjusted to accommodate their needs.

Vibrator:

In cases where individuals are unable to produce a sample through masturbation, a vibrator can be employed. This method is particularly helpful for those facing difficulties due to physical or psychological reasons. It provides an alternative means of achieving ejaculation for sample collection.

Electroejaculation:

Electroejaculation is a technique utilized for patients experiencing erectile dysfunction or ejaculatory failure. It involves the use of electrical stimulation to induce ejaculation, allowing for the retrieval of sperm for assisted reproductive technologies.

Surgical Techniques (TESA/PESA):

Surgical procedures like Testicular Sperm Aspiration (TESA) and Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (PESA) are employed for cases of severe male infertility or azoospermia. Sperm collected through these procedures, especially in cases like cancer patients, can be cryopreserved for future use in assisted reproduction.

Considerations

Abstinence Periods:

The duration of abstinence before semen collection is crucial. For most cases, a 3-4 day abstinence period is recommended to ensure optimal sperm quality and quantity. However, in specific situations such as post-cancer patients, shorter abstinence periods or even no abstinence may be advised to accommodate health conditions without compromising sample quality.

Special Cases such as Post-Cancer Patients:

Individuals who have undergone cancer treatment may face unique challenges in semen collection. Post-cancer patients may experience changes in sperm quality or have difficulty adhering to standard abstinence periods. In such cases, customized approaches are implemented to cater to individual health needs, ensuring the collection process is both effective and considerate of the patient’s condition.

Thawing Process

Common Thawing Methods:

Semen thawing is a critical step in the semen banking process, ensuring the viability and functionality of spermatozoa. Common thawing methods involve gradually bringing the frozen sperm sample back to a usable state.

The most prevalent method is to allow the straw or vial containing the sample to thaw at room temperature for approximately 10 minutes. Subsequently, it is transferred to a 37°C environment for an additional 10 minutes. This gradual approach prevents thermal shock, safeguarding the integrity of the sperm.

Post-Thawing Procedures, Including Washing and Centrifugation:

Following the thawing process, post-thaw procedures are implemented to enhance the quality of the sperm sample. Washing involves separating the sperm from the cryoprotectant used during freezing, reducing potential toxicity.

Centrifugation further concentrates the sperm, removing excess fluid. These post-thawing steps are crucial for optimizing the sperm sample’s quality, ensuring its readiness for use in assisted reproductive technologies and improving the chances of successful conception during fertility treatments.

Cryopreservation of Sperm in Zona Pellucida

Alternative Method for Preserving Spermatozoa

Cryopreservation of sperm in the zona pellucida presents an innovative approach, particularly beneficial for samples obtained through TESA/PESA procedures. In this method, donor oocytes are emptied and placed in a glycerol solution.

Following the collection of sperm from TESA/PESA, these sperms are injected into the zona pellucida, allowing for their cryopreservation. This technique ensures the preservation of motile spermatozoa and offers advantages over traditional methods.

Procedure and Advantages

The process involves emptying donor oocytes, preparing sperm from TESA/PESA, and injecting the sperms into the zona pellucida. This method not only enhances the preservation of motility but also ensures better viability of spermatozoa post-thaw.

The cryopreservation within the zona pellucida provides a protective environment, potentially leading to improved outcomes in assisted reproductive techniques. This innovative approach represents a promising avenue for optimizing sperm storage, especially for individuals undergoing fertility treatments at Mom IVF.

Preventing Cross Infection in Semen Banks

Ensuring the safety and integrity of stored sperm is paramount in semen banks. Rigorous measures are implemented to prevent cross infections, starting with thorough screening of patients for infectious diseases like HIV, hepatitis B and C, VDRL, and more.

The use of hermetically sealed straws adds an extra layer of protection, minimizing the risk of contamination. Liquid nitrogen vapors are employed to maintain optimal storage conditions. Meticulous handling and storage precautions are observed, emphasizing the importance of double-checking reports to prevent errors. These comprehensive steps underscore Mom IVF’s commitment to providing safe and secure semen banking services.

ICMR Guidelines for Sperm Donation

Sperm donation at Mom IVF adheres to strict guidelines outlined by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Donors undergo a thorough evaluation, considering criteria such as health, age (21 to 45 years), and semen analysis according to WHO standards.

Additional information, including blood group, Rh status, and personal details, is recorded. These guidelines ensure the quality and suitability of donor sperm, aligning with Mom IVF’s commitment to maintaining ethical standards and providing patients with the highest quality fertility treatments.

Conclusion

In conclusion, semen banking emerges as a pivotal aspect of fertility preservation, particularly for individuals facing challenges like cancer treatment. The blog highlighted the critical role of semen cryopreservation in fulfilling the desire for genetic offspring.

Advances in cryopreservation techniques, notably the use of hermetically sealed straws and liquid nitrogen vapors, have significantly improved the safety and success of semen banking. This process is especially crucial for male cancer survivors, offering them a viable option to preserve their fertility and realize their dreams of parenthood.

Mom IVF, with its commitment to excellence, stands at the forefront of providing cutting-edge semen banking services to support individuals on their fertility journey.

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