Sperm banking stands as a pivotal advancement, offering hope and solutions for individuals facing various fertility challenges. Understanding the intricate science behind sperm banking and preservation unveils a world of possibilities, safeguarding fertility for those navigating parenthood challenges due to medical treatments, personal choices, or other reasons.
Sperm Banking Basics
Sperm banking, also known as sperm cryopreservation, involves the collection, freezing, and storage of sperm for future use. This process allows individuals to preserve their fertility potential, providing a safety net in situations where fertility might be compromised. This is where sperm donors step in to provide the tissue needed to support family-building goals for those who need it.
Donors undergo a rigorous screening process to ensure the quality and health of their potential donations. This includes semen analysis, physical, genetic carrier screening, and testing for infectious diseases. After being accepted into the donor program, collected semen is then frozen with all its cells or processed to isolate and concentrate sperm cells while removing seminal fluid.
Donors leave samples with the lab team, that’s when they get to work analyzing, processing and preserving the sample for treatments. Cryoprotectants, substances that prevent ice crystal formation, are added to the sperm sample to protect the delicate cells during freezing. This step is crucial to maintain the viability of sperm cells during storage at ultra-low temperatures. This works by removing as much water from the cell as possible, reducing the chance for ice crystals to form and rupture the cells.
Once prepared, the samples are slowly cooled to extremely low temperatures, around -196°C (-321°F), in liquid nitrogen. These freezing temperatures effectively halt biological activity, preserving the sperm cells for an extended period.
Frozen samples are then stored in liquid nitrogen tanks, ensuring their long-term preservation. All donated samples are quarantined for 6 months while donors must undergo infectious disease testing. Samples are stored for long term in our Seattle lab. After donors complete their infectious disease testing, samples can then be released for treatment use.
Applications of Sperm Banking
At San Diego Sperm Bank, we can support multiple reasons for preserving sperm samples or treatments that rely on donated sperm samples.
Personal Fertility Preservation:
Individuals may want to preserve their fertility and ability to have biological children in the future for various reasons including:
- Undergoing medical treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgeries on reproductive tissues
- Before starting Hormone Replacement Therapy
- Postpone having children until later in life
Assisted Reproduction Treatment:
Most of the donors at San Diego Sperm Bank support families who need a sperm donor to grow or build their family. Donor sperm can be used in a wide range of fertility treatments that include using either the intended parent as a pregnancy carrier or a gestational carrier. Sperm donors provide options to couples or individuals struggling with infertility or genetic concerns.
You can have a positive impact and apply to become a sperm donor today. If you have any questions about what it takes to become a donor or what it is like being a donor, do not hesitate to call or email our Donor Coordinators at 858-732-8500 or [email protected].