Infertility is on the rise in India with about 27.5 million couples, who are actively trying to get pregnant, suffering from it.
Factors like unhealthy lifestyles, diseases, injury, hormonal imbalance are some of the leading causes for male infertility. Additionally, the average age of parenthood is on the rise in India due to several reasons.
If you’re a man worried about his fertility or simply looking for a safety net for parenthood at a later age, sperm freezing could be an option for you.
Here’s what the process looks like.
Similar to egg freezing in women, sperm cryopreservation or freezing “is an effective but underused method to safe guard your sperm”, according to a Lancet study from October 2014.
The process involves extracting sperms from the donor and storing it at supremely low temperatures (-196 F or -127 C). One of these sperms is then used for fertilisation at a later time. It is either injected directly into the egg and then pregnancy follows the usual course, or it is used in in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI).
IVF is the process of combining egg and sperm outside the body. The embryo is later planted in the body of the woman for pregnancy. IUI is the process of directly placing the sperm in a woman’s uterus when she is ovulating.
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The provided semen sample will be mixed with a special fluid to ensure the freezing does not cause any damage. Most facilities ensure that the sample is divided and stored in several batches so that it could be used for multiple tries.
Manika Saxena, Senior Embryologist at Fortis Flt Lt Rajan Dhall Hospital in New Delhi, says the procedure is quite prevalent in India.