Sperm cryopreservation and banking has become a widely accepted part of our culture. Once looked upon with uncertainty, this practice has proven time and time again to be a successful method of keeping the hope of a family alive for many men. The reasons for storage are as varied as men themselves. Sports figures and those in high-risk occupations protect their future against the chance that an injury could affect their reproductivity. Vasectomy patients often store sperm prior to their procedure in case they may one day choose to father another child. Patients undergoing cancer treatments are urged to store sperms prior to these procedures since radiation, chemotherapy or surgery may render them sterile. The reasons go on and on, but one thing is clear; more and more men are choosing to protect their future from the loss of fertility – and semen cryopreservation offers a proven measure of protection.
As early as the 1940’s cattlebreeders and veterinarians had pretty much refined the process of cryopreserving bull semen and artificially inseminating heifers. It was obvious then, that the technology they were working with would be of great benefit to mankind. However it wasn’t until the 1950’s that the methods for cryopreserving human semen and artificial insemination were refined, resulting in the first human birth. Since then, careful ongoing research has aided in the development of more sophisticated procedures and techniques for the freezing and storing of human semen.
So far, no limit has been established for how long human semen can be frozen when maintained and stored in appropriate liquid nitrogen storage. Scientific literature shows conclusively that sperm motility, viability and morphology are not affected by proper long term cryopreservation.