Semen freezing or cryopreservation (commonly called sperm banking) is a procedure to preserve sperm cells. Briefly, the semen sample is collected, diluted with cryoprotectant media, and then aliquoted into small vials. The vials are frozen in liquid nitrogen for later use. The frozen semen samples can be stored in liquid nitrogen for decades. The cryoprotectant medium is to prevent damage to the sperm caused by the freezing and thawing processes; however, it is important to be aware of the expected drop in the number of live sperm after freezing and thawing.
We also perform surgeries for men who need to harvest sperm from the epididymis or testicle. The sperm is frozen in several aliquots to avoid having the surgery again in the future.
Semen freezing can be used for your fertility preservation or for your infertility treatment backup. Examples include men with low sperm count, sperm samples with motility issues, before chemotherapy or radiotherapy cancer surgery, etc.
Age negatively impacts a woman’s egg supply, with the quality and quantity rapidly deteriorating after age 35. As a result, women can freeze their eggs at a younger age. Advances in technology have made egg freezing a successful procedure, but the success of egg freezing is highly dependent on your age at the time of egg retrieval. The ideal time to freeze your eggs is in your mid to late 20’s or early to mid 30’s.
The egg freezing process is similar to an IVF treatment cycle – a woman has to go through hormone stimulation and egg collection prior to her eggs being cryopreserved. Frozen eggs may be stored in liquid nitrogen for decades without significant deterioration.
Egg freezing can be used for your fertility preservation or for your infertility treatment backup. Examples will include women who are busy with their careers, women before chemotherapy or pelvic radiotherapy, etc.
Often, with in vitro fertilization treatment, patients may have multiple good quality embryos created from one treatment cycle. The good quality embryos which cannot be used in that cycle will be frozen for future use. Today, in most clinics, embryo freezing is one of the very routine services offered as part of IVF treatment. Frozen embryo transfers have allowed many patients to achieve more than one pregnancy from a single treatment cycle and has also prevented multiple pregnancies.
Embryos tolerate the freezing and thawing process very well and the survival rate is over 90%. The pregnancy rates with frozen/thawed embryos have been proven as good as or higher compared with fresh embryos.
Embryos can be frozen at any stage of development during IVF treatment. The frozen embryos may be stored in liquid nitrogen for decades.
Cooperation with other clinics:
We receive sperm, eggs, and embryos from clinics across Canada. It is the patient’s responsibility to contact the clinic that is storing their samples and to hire a courier to ship the samples to us. Please give us notice 24 hours in advance so we can be ready to receive your samples when they arrive.
If your samples are overseas, then you have to ensure that you can ship the samples to Canada.