Preservation of Sperm and Eggs

Medical science has made a ground shattering breakthrough in this domain where there is a a lot of need to be able to preserve sperms and eggs. The reason is obvious. Due to the perishable nature of sperm and eggs and the fact that you might need sperm and eggs for fertilization in future situaion, preservation of these vital units of life, is imperative. Cryopreservation is a highly sophisticated technical procedure by which it is absolutely possible to preserve eggs and sperm for future use.

Sperm can be put to cryopreservation for use in an IUI or IVF circuit in progress. For additional safety measure, all donor sperm is cryo-preserved for a period of six months to ensure that the donor does not have any viral infections. Most of the tme it is only the healthy and high quality sperms that survive the cryopreservation process, and the subsequent thawing.

Egg preservation was a tentative procedure till recently since there weren’t any concrete and reliable data to support the fact that babies born out of cryopreserved eggs are healthy and could survive post delivery. However, the good news was that recent data on the performance of cryopreserved eggs have shown good results, and the quality of the eggs are not lost through the freezing process.

Cryopreservation Procedure

Cryopreservation is a relatively new medical procedure, where the eggs and sperm are stored in liquid nitrogen. Prior to freezing and storage of the eggs and sperm, the following steps are taken:

– The donor of the eggs/ sperms will be screened for the presence of any infectious diseases like HIV and Hepatitis B and C.
– The donor will have to give consent, allowing the preservation and storage of the donated material.
– Eggs are collected in the same way as in an IVF procedure.
– A freezing solution called cryoprotectant is applied to the eggs in the preservation procedure.
– The eggs are frozen either by gradual cooling or by quick vitrification and are then stored in a tank of liquid nitrogen.

Storage Time Span of Eggs and Sperm

Usually, the eggs can be stored for a time span of ten years. If you want to extend the storage period, you need to seek specialists advice. Statistics reveal that since December 2012 around 18000 eggs have been preserved in UK clinics for use by the intended parents. These eggs have yielded about 580 embryos. The resulting embryos were transferred to women in 160 cycles, finally resulting in 20 live births. Similarly freezing and storage of sperm for future use is possible if the storage period is around ten years. However, the donated sperms need to be stored for six months before they can be used.

Sperm Storage is Necessary in the Following Cases:

-When the patient is undergoing a medical treatment that might affect his or her fertility.

-Whena male is going to have a vasectomy.

– When a male has a low sperm count or suffering from production of low potential sperms

Like eggs, sperm is also frozen and after that stored in a tank of liquid nitrogen.

Benefits of Preservation of Sperm

A man of 25 years might not want to have a baby at that age. He may postpone fatherhood until 40 for personal reasons. Now the million dollar question is would a baby born ten years later be as healthy as baby born now? Studies reveal that a 40 year old man could have structural defects in his DNA. Studies further reveal that a 40 year old man transmits 65 mutations to his child through his sperm whereas a 25 year old transmits only 25 mutations. The lower the number of mutations, the higher are the chanses of a healty baby being born.

Benefits of Preservation of Eggs

Just as in men, the fertility of a woman sharply declines with age. After 40 years, the chance of having a baby becomes smaller. So it will be a good idea to collect healthy eggs from a young woman and put it through cryopreservation, if pregnancy and delivery is desired at a later date.