Sperm Freezing:

Sperm 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 sperm samples can be stored in liquid nitrogen for decades. The cryoprotectant medium is used 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. If sperm is found during these procedures, it is frozen in several aliquots to avoid having the surgery again in the future.

Sperm freezing can be used for fertility preservation or as backup for infertility treatment. Examples include men with low sperm count, sperm samples with motility issues, men with ejaculatory problems, male-to-female transgender patients who would like preserve their fertility, men preparing for chemotherapy or radiotherapy cancer surgery, etc.

 

Egg Freezing:

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 the woman’s age at the time of egg retrieval. The ideal time to freeze eggs is in the 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 fertility preservation or for infertility treatment backup. Examples include women who would like to start a family later in life, female-to-male transgender patients who would like to preserve their fertility, women preparing for chemotherapy or pelvic radiotherapy, etc.

 

Embryo Freezing:

With IVF or ICSI treatment, patients often 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 fertility 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 with a survival rate greater than 90%. The pregnancy rates with frozen/thawed embryos have been proven as good as fresh embryos. Embryos can be frozen at any stage of development during treatment; however, our clinic most commonly freezes embryos on Day 5 or Day 6 of development. The frozen embryos may be stored in liquid nitrogen for decades.

 

Cooperation with other clinics:

We are able to receive sperm, eggs, and embryos from clinics across Canada and the USA. It is the patient’s responsibility to contact the clinic that will be releasing 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 from other countries, you must ensure that you can ship the samples to Canada.