Male fertility preservation techniques are used to preserve fertility preservation for the future. The most common application for such procedures are for men undergoing cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy, that could result in temporary or permanent male infertility. It can also be used where the male is not yet ready to father a child.
Male Fertility Preservation Procedure
The most common type of male fertility preservation is semen cryopreservation, where a sample of semen is preserved at a very low temperature until it is needed. If the man or boy can’t produce a semen sample, or there is no sperm in the semen due to a tube blockage, then sperm can be collected directly from the testes using a needle. The semen needs to be frozen within an hour of being collected to maximize the number of sperm that survive in the frozen sample.
After collection, the semen is mixed with a protective solution and frozen by gradually decreasing the temperature. You will need to pay annual storage charges to the facility that is storing your semen. When you are ready to use your frozen semen, it is defrosted by heating it to slightly above body temperature. The semen can then be used to fertilize an egg in a process known as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
Why Consider Male Fertility Preservation?
One of the most common reasons for considering male fertility preservation is to preserve fertility during cancer treatment. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy can damage sperm DNA and impair the body’s ability to produce sperm, which may be a temporary or a permanent effect. It is recommended that you undergo male fertility preservation before you begin treatment for cancer; once the treatment has started, the sperm may already be damaged.
Some men freeze their sperm before having a vasectomy in case their circumstances change in future to make them want to add to their family. Men who work in dangerous situations, which pose a risk of injury to the reproductive organs, may also want to consider male fertility preservation to increase their chances of fathering a child in later life.