Semen and testicular tissue can be cryopreserved for future fertility treatments.
Semen cryopreservation may be in order, for example, due to travelling work or problems with sampling or it may be carried out to preserve fertility before starting medication, radiotherapy, chemotherapy or sterilisation.
Read more about semen cryopreservation in a sperm bank for the purpose of donating gametes here.
Before cryopreservation, it is advisable to determine the quality of the semen by carrying out a sperm analysis. If necessary, the cryopreservation tolerance of sperm can also be determined in advance by carrying out a trial cryopreservation.
Before starting the cryopreservation of semen, we carry out blood tests in compliance with the related legislation. This will ensure the safety of our customers and samples with regard to infection transmission over the course of the preservation of gametes and treatments. The required infection tests are hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV screening tests. Semen cryopreservation can only be done after the results of the blood tests are ready. If the infection analysis samples have been taken elsewhere, the official documentation of the test results must be submitted to Felicitas Mehiläinen.
Sampling and cryopreservation
The semen sample is given in a sample jar provided by the clinic in Felicitas Mehiläinen’s sampling room. More detailed instructions on sampling can be found here. Multiple samples may be required depending on your situation and the quality of semen. You will receive instructions for this from the clinic after the first cryopreservation session.
Upon receipt of the semen sample, the staff will verify the identity of the sample provider, so please take your ID with you.
The semen can be cryopreserved as such or it can be concentrated or washed, in which case the best-quality sperm are separated from the sperm plasma and placed into a culture medium before cryopreservation. The method used depends on the quality and purpose of the sample. A solution containing cryoprotectant agents is used as the cryopreservation medium. The cells are preserved in a plastic capillary tube called a cryopreservation straw. The straws are stored at the clinic in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196.6°C, where the cells remain alive for years.
A cryopreservation agreement, valid for three (3) years, is made when gametes are frozen. The cryopreservation agreement is concluded at the clinic at the time of the first cryopreservation and it will be mailed to you when the cryopreservation process is completed. The storage fee is billed annually for as long as there are remaining gametes and the agreement is valid. The agreement may be terminated at any time by submitting a written notice to the clinic, in which case the storage will be terminated and the gametes will be destroyed. At the end of the agreement, you can continue the storage by notifying the clinic, in which case the agreement will be renewed for a fixed period. If the agreement has not been renewed, the agreement will expire on its last day of validity without a separate termination and the gametes will be destroyed.
Use of cryopreserved semen
Cryopreserved semen can be used for insemination, in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or microinjection (ICSI) treatments, depending on the quality of the semen after thawing. The treatment plan is always made together with a doctor.
The sperm are thawed on the day of fertilisation. The number of straws to be thawed depends on the type of fertilisation chosen and the quality of the sample. After thawing, the live sperm count of the sample and their motility is examined and the sample is prepared for fertilisation.
Semen cryopreservation phases:
- Sperm analysis
- Infection tests
- Sampling for cryopreservation, normally 1–3 sampling appointments
- Cryopreservation agreement
- Sample storage at the clinic in accordance with the agreement
- Use of cryopreserved sperm for fertility treatment OR
- Disposal of sperm in accordance with the agreement