Bank your future: Insemination and semen cryopreservation

Keywords:

IUI, semen parameters, autoconservation, cryopreservation, donor semen

R. MENKVELD

Andrology Laboratory, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Tygerberg Academic Hospital and University of
Stellen bosch.

Correspondence at: rme@sun.ac.za

Abstract

Semen cryopreservation has become an important part of the routine work of most Andrology or Assisted Reproductive laboratories. There are two main reasons for cryopreservation of semen, the one is for the use in donor semen related procedures and the second for the purpose of fertility preservation in males, also known as autoconservation, for many different reasons. These two main areas can further be subdivided into several categories or uses depending on their clinical application.
In this article the emphasis is on storage of semen for autoconservation uses only, with reference to reasons for autoconservation of semen, the effects of cryopreservation on semen parameters and sperm functions and the use(fullness) of cryopreserved semen in practice.
The wide range for autoconservation of semen samples includes inter alia the following; conservation of fertility in male cancer patients, treatment of male and/or female subfertility, back-up for ART procedures, fertility preservation before vasectomy or other reasons/procedures and storage of separated X and Y bearing spermatozoa.
It is concluded that semen cryopreservation is an essential tool in ART. IUI with cryopreserved, non-donor, semen is mainly used for cancer patients. Although the request rates for cancer patients and infertility treatment is low, if used pregnancy rates are compatible with other IUI procedures. Despite the low usage rate of stored semen samples the cryopreservation of semen samples in these cases is extremely important given the therapeutic or physiological effect by the knowledge that in worst case scenarios due to the unavailability of fresh semen samples a cryopreserved semen sample is available.