Frequently Asked Questions
Fertility preservation is an option for men and couples who dream of becoming a parent but may not have the natural course available to them due to infertility caused by various reasons. In some cases, infertility may not be a present reality but a future possibility – which also provides you with an option to provide your current state of fertility. Thus, in case things go wrong in the future, you still have the option of parenting your child with the help of assisted reproductive methods.
Some of the conditions which could result in future infertility include – cancer detected at a young age, routine surgeries of the pelvic region, autoimmune disorders, hormonal disorders, genetic and hereditary disorders, a low sperm count to begin with, and various others.
Some of the commonly available options for male fertility preservation include
- sperm banking – which freezes sperm for future use
- testicular sperm extraction – which is surgical extraction of sperm directly from the testicles
- gonadal shielding – which shields the testicles during radiation treatment but does not guarantee that the sperm will be saved, and electro/vibratory ejaculation – primarily used for men with spinal cord injuries or diabetes or other conditions that affect the release of semen voluntarily.
Sperm freezing or cryopreservation of sperm allows for fertilization to be achieved with the help of assisted reproductive techniques such as IUI (intra-uterine insemination) or (invitro fertilization). However, the eventual success of fertilization depends on various factors, including but not limited to the quality of the eggs.
Once an individual has decided on sperm freezing, he may consult a fertility expert or a sperm bank directly to make an appointment. The sperm deposit can be made either at the bank or collected in a collection kit at home. It is best to abstain from sexual activity 2-3 days before making your sperm deposit.
Sperm freezing can be done at a sperm bank, and these are often available with the fertility centre itself. Otherwise, specialized sperm banks exist as standalone entities and provide facilities for collecting, storing, and retrieving sperm as required. The advent of technology makes it possible for individuals to collect their ejaculate sample at home and deposit it with a sperm bank instead of having to visit one for sperm collection specifically.
Cryopreserved sperm can be stored for several years at a time. Yes, the freezing and unfreezing of spermatozoa can result in a decline in their quality. Still, overall, the sperm can stay frozen long enough for a man to grow up from youth to middle age, or for someone in their middle age who chooses to undergo vasectomy until they may decide to have another child.
Yes, there are no undue risks involved in a child’s health – if they are born out of frozen sperm. However, the hereditary risks, which are otherwise dangerous for children inheriting cancerous or other diseases, remain the same.
The cost of retrieval and storage will depend on various factors involved in the process. This includes – the type of procedure and the time it takes, the location of the specimen collection, and the duration of the time for which the sperm may be stored.
Access to your sperm sample is available only to the signatories of the application – typically, it is only the individual and their partners.
Firstly, it must be understood that not all cancers or cancer treatments will result in infertility following the treatment. Such a possibility is contingent upon various factors such as – location of cancer, type of cancer, the dosage of treatment – chemotherapy, radiotherapy and others, the age at which you are affected with cancer, and the level of fertility before the cancer treatment.
Fertility may be adversely impacted should you be suffering from an autoimmune disorder as treatment could lead to the cessation of sperm production. Even if that doesn’t happen, the pathway of the sperm may get blocked. Thus, fertility preservation is a viable option to be considered.
Spinal cord injuries can adversely impact your fertility and chances of conceiving a child. This happens because of the blockage of the ejaculation pathway. The options available for fertility and conception include – sperm retrieval surgery and/or electro/vibratory ejaculation.
Any high-risk occupation that has a possibility of injury or trauma can hurt fertility. Thus, such individuals should consider sperm freezing or other fertility preservation methods to keep their parenthood dreams alive.
Yes, individuals who have diabetes should consider sperm freezing should the ejaculating volume decrease at a gradual rate. This is especially helpful should the individual concerned be young.
Klinefelter’s syndrome or delayed fertility amongst youngsters is treated with testosterone therapy can opt freezing sperm because they may suffer from the cessation of sperm production later in life. Also, it is essential to note that testosterone ought not to be taken before sperm freezing unless necessary.
Any individual who has crossed the post-pubescent phase in life can consider freezing of the sperm. You should discuss your options with your fertility expert before deciding to go ahead with the freezing. Anyone considering cancer treatment must go ahead with freezing the sperm before the treatment – irrespective of the age.
There are a few options available for conception and parenthood if you have not opted for or cannot opt for fertility preservation. If sperm production is unaffected post-cancer treatment, IUI or ICSI become viable fertility options. In some cases, surgical sperm retrieval may be more feasible.