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What is Sperm Freezing?

Cryopreserving sperm or sperm freezing is the storage of sperm at cold temperatures for future use. This process is achieved by using special media like liquid nitrogen and protective chemicals. Sperm are immersed in these solvents and kept in special freezers.

The sperm cells remain viable and healthy for many years. The research suggests that frozen sperm can cause fertilization after 40 years of preservation.

Once you are ready to use them, sperm cells are thawed and allowed to fertilize the ovum.

Is Sperm Freezing A New Technology?

It may seem like sperm freezing is a relatively newer technology, but the history dates back to the 18th century. In 1776, an Italian physician and priest, Lazaro Spallanzani, reported that sperm cells could survive in ice.

However, the substantial hypothesis about sperm freezing came in 1866. A scientist, Montegazza, suggested that a soldier dying on the battlefield could still beget an heir through frozen sperm at home. These were the times when men were scarce due to war, and legal heirs had significant importance. So, the idea was revolutionary but at that time they did not have enough technological expertise to make it happen.

In the 20th century, veterinary sperm freezing and births were common. Human sperm freezing was being tested, but it was not a norm. After the 1970s, with the advent of IVF and other assisted reproductive methods, sperm freezing started bagging a higher appreciation.

With time, acceptance has ensued, and now sperm freezing has become a convenient technique to preserve male fertility. Many struggling couples benefit from sperm freezing with or without the assisted reproductive technologies.

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Some sperm is lost and damaged during the transport, storage, freezing, and thawing process. The semen analysis reflects values at the time of the analysis, after transport and before freezing. These values will decrease throughout the freezing and thawing process. A semen analysis alone cannot be used to predict fertility.
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