Who can benefit from freezing sperm?
There are several reasons why freezing your sperm may be the right decision for you. Firstly, male fertility can be affected by some diseases or by the treatment of diseases. Treating Cancer through chemotherapy or radiotherapy can massively affect male fertility. This is because some of the drugs used in cancer treatments can lead to infertility, especially in high doses. Therefore, freezing sperm and other methods of fertility preservation will be offered to anyone over the age of 13 before receiving cancer treatment on the NHS.
If you work in the armed forces, fertility preservation through freezing sperm, eggs or embryos before deployment can give you peace of mind you may still be able to have a family in the future. Injuries may affect your reproductive organs. So fertility preservation is being viewed as a preventive measure.
Many people have fertility preservation treatment if they don’t feel ready for a family yet, or feel like they haven’t met the right partner. Or they may not be financially or emotionally ready yet. Now that many people are choosing to have children later on in life, as they opt to pursue other life plans first, fertility preservation is becoming more and more popular.
Another reason you may opt for fertility preservation treatment is if you’re a transgender person wishing to transition. As hormone therapy and reconstructive surgery can lead to a partial or complete loss of your fertility, fertility preservation creates the option to still have a family in the future.
There are 3 main types of causes that have an affect male fertility and may prevent you from starting a family.
- Testicular infertility is caused by injury, infection, cancer, birth defects such as undescended testicles. As well as from medications, alcohol & smoking.
- Post-testicular infertility is caused by obstruction of the sperm passage- cystic fibrosis, and from a previous vasectomy.
- Pretesticular infertility mostly relates to hormonal causes, such as Klinefelter syndrome.
What is sperm freezing?
Fertility preservation in men is much easier, cheaper and in most cases effective. It simply involves collecting a sperm sample and freezing it. However, a semen analysis is done first to make sure that there are healthy sperms prior to freezing the sample. Your sperm sample will be tested for diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis. A positive result does not affect your right to store your sperm, although it does mean your sample will have to be stored separately to prevent contamination of other samples.
Fertility treatment using frozen sperm has been proven just as successful as using fresh sperm samples. There have been no risks to suggest that children conceived from frozen sperm are anymore at risk to medical conditions or infections than children conceived traditionally.
It is important that you discuss your fertility preservation queries and concerns with a medical professional. As treatment has become much more advanced in recent years, you should not miss out on the chance to start a family, if you wish to do so. For more information about freezing sperm or to discuss male infertility, click here to book an appointment with Dr. Vinod Nargund
Mr Vinod Nargund is a Consultant Urological Surgeon specialising in Urological cancer, male sexual and fertility problems. He was trained in Urology at the City Hospital Belfast, the Royal Infirmary Bradford and the Churchill and John Radcliffe Hospitals in Oxford. You can view all of his qualifications on his biography page.