Oocyte Freezing and Sperm Freezing
Oocyte freezing has been proven to be more difficult to achieve compared to embryo and sperm freezing due to their low post-thaw survival rates and fertilization rates. The post-thaw survival rates of frozen eggs vary between 18% to 52% while their fertilization rates are usually below 50%. Thus, it is not a common practice for most of the fertility centers to freeze the eggs. These sperm-harvesting techniques include MESA (microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration) and PESA (percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration), a procedure where sperm can be obtained by passing a tiny needle through the skin into the epididymis. Testicular sperm extraction (TESE) is also a procedure, done with a large biopsy needle under local or general anesthesia. The IVF cycle is conducted exactly in the manner described above with a very few exceptions. After the eggs are retrieved, instead of mixing the sperm with the egg, the embryologist utilizes a thin glass pipette to immobilize a slightly mobile sperm, sucks it up into the pipette, and then injects it directly into the egg’s cytoplasm. Since the egg is the size of a pinpoint, it is a sophisticated technique requiring a high-powered microscope, tiny glass pipettes, and instruments that translate hand movements into extremely fine movements of the pipettes.
You might consider egg freezing if:
1. You’re about to undergo treatment for cancer or other illness that may affect your future fertility potential. Certain medical treatments — such as radiation or chemotherapy — can harm your fertility. Egg freezing before treatment might allow you to have children at a later date.
2. You wish to preserve younger eggs now for future use. Freezing eggs at a younger age may help you preserve your ability to reproduce when the time is right in the future.
Sperm freezing and storage is the procedure whereby sperm cells are frozen to preserve them for future use. Sperm cells have been frozen and thawed successfully for more than 40 years. By using special technology and keeping sperm in liquid nitrogen at minus 196*C, it can be stored for many years while maintaining a reasonable quality.
“WHEN YOU HAVE A DREAM, YOU’VE GOT TO GRAB IT AND NEVER LET GO.”
WHEN SHOULD I FREEZE MY SPERM?
1. When male partner is not available or may have difficulties to produce semen on the day of IUI or IVF.
2. When male partner is going to undergo radiotherapy or chemotherapy.
3. Undergoing certain types of pelvic or testicular surgery.
HOW MANY SAMPLES OF SPERM DO I NEED TO FREEZE?
You need to freeze between two to five samples depending on the situation. Recommend abstaining from intercourse and ejaculation for at least three days but not longer than five days before the first sample, and for about three days between the samples.