Cryostoring Sperm before a Vasectomy
An option for men undergoing a vasectomy is for them to cryostore their sperm, sometimes known as ‘sperm banking.’ This ensures that if the couple change their mind and wish to become pregnant later on, they are able to do so with better sperm from before the surgery. This option is often an essential part of the care offered for men who have suffered from testicular cancer. This is because the chemotherapy or radiation treatments carry with them a possibility that the man will become sterile.
Cryostoring sperm preserves the sperm in the state and health that they were at the time the sample was taken. It is an effective means of insuring a man’s fertility. The frozen sperm is kept in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -321F to -176F depending on the clinic.
Cost of Cryostoring Sperm
Some clinics require you to pay a monthly or yearly storage fee along with a number of other care costs and can amount up to thousands of pounds depending on how long you store the sperm for. However, a number of clinics do not ask for fees to store the sperm and instead, should you want to use the sperm eventually, there will only be a cost for the technique you wish to use. Depending on the reasoning, you can ask if your local hospital can store sperm on the NHS. This is more likely to be available for men with cancer though. There are private clinics and NHS fertility centres nationwide for you to research your best option.
Procedure for Cryostoring Sperm
You can store sperm for as long as you want. You should however be in constant contact with the clinic so that they know you still wish the sample to be stored. When you decide that this is a good option for you, and you may have been advised to do this by your vasectomy surgeon, the next step is to contact and meet with the staff where the sperm will be stored. You will be given a consent form to sign and you will also be given a laboratory date to come back and give your sample. On this day, the lab staff will screen your sperm for any problems and freeze it. It is often recommended to store a couple of samples rather than just one.
Sperm Survival through Cryostorage
Sperm survival is entirely dependent on the individual and the quality of sperm provided, however generally, the thawed sperm has a survival rate of 50-60%. Poor quality sperm has a less chance of survival and it is worth remembering that this does not mean there is a 50-60% chance of becoming pregnant, this means simply that the sperm has survived.
Using Sperm Samples in the Future
At the moment there are two ways in which the cryostored sperm can be used once you decide that you are ready to try and get pregnant. The cheaper option is simply to artificially inseminate the woman on the exact day of ovulation. This is also the easier option but does have a slightly less success rate.
The other option is to use IVF treatment. This can sometimes be necessary if the woman has medical problems, for example, with her fallopian tubes. In this technique, the egg and sperm are fertilised outside of the woman and then inseminated once they are fertilised. This has a better success rate, approximately twice as effective as artificially insemination, but is extremely expensive.
If you have stored your sperm in this way prior to a vasectomy, this may be a much cheaper and easier route to starting a family, instead of having a vasectomy reversed.
- VASECTOMY REVERSAL (VASOVASOSTOMY) INFORMATION
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