Freezing sperm – fertility preservation
Sperm may be stored at the Agora Clinic for a variety of reasons, including as a back-up for fertility treatments or if you need to have chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery that might mean that you become infertile. Very low sperm counts or sperm that are collected during surgical sperm retrieval can be stored for future treatment at the Agora.
We can also provide sperm freezing as a temporary backup in cases where the man finds it difficult to produce a sperm sample or has to be away at the time of treatment.
- By law, we are able to store sperm for a maximum of 10 years. If you have fertility problems, and the sperm is only for your own use, we are legally allowed to extend this until you reach the age of 55
- If you are considering sperm freezing, we will ask you to complete various consent forms and it will be a condition of the storage contract that you will be contacted annually to renew the storage agreements
To find out more, you can download our patient information leaflet about sperm freezing.
Freezing eggs or embryos
Although it has only been available for a few years, and is a new option compared to freezing sperm or embryos, egg freezing can be an option for women who:
- Need to preserve eggs before having treatment for cancer
- Want to put their fertility ‘on hold’ either because they are not in a stable relationship or for other social reasons
At the Agora Clinic we use the latest freezing (vitrification) techniques to freeze the mature eggs on the day of egg collection following a conventional IVF treatment cycle. Sometimes you may need to have more than one IVF cycle to ensure enough eggs are stored. However, egg freezing can’t be guaranteed to preserve fertility as eggs may not survive the freeze or thaw process or fertilise normally to produce a pregnancy.
During the freeze and thaw process the outer layer of the egg hardens so ICSI is required to fertilise the eggs when needed later on. For more information about egg freezing you can download our patient information leaflet.
Following an IVF or ICSI treatment cycle there may be some embryos, usually at the early (blastocyst) stage, which are suitable to freeze. We use state of the art vitrification technology to freeze embryos, which are kept in liquid nitrogen storage at -196°C. At this temperature all biological activity in the embryo stops and the embryos will be stable for many years. Current regulations allow us to store embryos for up to 10 years and these can be used at a later date in Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) cycles.