Sperm Freezing and Embryo Freezing
Cryopreservation is freezing tissue or cells in order to preserve it for the future.
Cryopreservation is used in infertility programs to freeze and store sperm, eggs or to freeze all the embryos or "leftover" embryos from an in vitro fertilization cycle.
There are two methods used for freezing in IVF labs:
1. Slow freezing
2. Vitrification (ultra-rapid freezing)
Currently almost all labs are using vitrification. Our IVF program also uses vitrification to freeze embryos - we see excellent success rates with frozen embryo transfer cycles.
Semen cryopreservation (commonly called sperm banking) is a procedure to preserve sperm cells. Semen can be used successfully indefinitely after cryopreservation. For human sperm, the longest reported successful storage is 22 years.
Should males cryopreserve sperm when young?
The literature has shown children conceived from advanced paternal age fathers are more likely to develop certain pathologies. While multiple pathologic states have been linked to advanced paternal age, multiple studies have shown that schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders are conditions on which patients need to be counseled.
The rate of schizophrenia is increased in association with advanced paternal age. While schizophrenia is known to affect 0.5%–1.5% of the population, children born to men older than 45 were found to be twice as likely, and to men older than 50 nearly 3 times as likely, to have schizophrenia.
Given both the biologic and financial implications of cryopreservation, it would be difficult to recommend young men bank sperm only to offset the deleterious effects of aging on semen parameters. Currently there are no specific guidelines regarding semen testing specifically for older males or the use of PGD/PGS for advanced paternal age as the sole indication.