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Cryopreservation of Gametes (Sperm/Oocytes)

Cryopreservation of Gametes (Sperm/Oocytes)

Gametes can undergo cryopreservation for long term storage. Samples are kept in Liquid Nitrogen (-196ºC) and stored in specialized liquid nitrogen dewars. The dewars are screened for HIV and Hepatitis viruses as it is required patients to undergo blood testing for Hepatitis B & C and HIV 1 & 2 prior cryopreservation of their samples.

 

 

 

Semen Cryopreservation

Semen cryopreservation is a procedure to preserve sperm cells. Sample is cryopreserved in specialised cryovials and can be successfully used for the desired treatment.

 

The main reasons for cryopreserving semen samples are the following:

a. After semen surgical collection (MESA, TESE, TESA).


b. Patients which have low sperm count and run a risk of becoming total azoospermic or suffer further compromise of their sperm quality.


c. The couple has the potential of a means of facing and dealing with their infertility problem for a lifetime!


d. Patients that normally go through an IVF-ICSI treatment and may have a psychological problem giving a sample on the day of egg collection. The existence of frozen sperm before the IVF – ICSI treatment gives them the added security that their sperm will be available when needed for the treatment and it eases their psychological barrier to give semen at the time of the treatment.


e. Patients with problems that will possible cost them the inability to produce sperm. Such medical problems may be the outcome of chemotherapy (cancer treatment), spinal cord injuries, exposure to toxic waste, chemicals, radiation and lead poisoning, accidental damage of the testis (perhaps to athletes) and any other conditions that may lead to partial or almost total azospermia.


f. The use of donor sperm as geographical or temporal distance between donors and recipients results in non-simultaneous availability of the sample.

 

 

Oocyte Cryopreservation

Oocytes are cryopreserved using a procedure called “Vitrification”. It is a rapid and simple cryopreservation method which is based on introducing solidification of the cells and the surrounding vitrification solution thus preventing formation of ice crystallization in the intra-cellular and extra-cellular space.

 

The main reasons for cryopreserving oocytes are the following:

a. Stimulation with hormonal medication results in the production of several follicles and the retrieval of multiple oocytes. When the optimal number of oocytes is exceeded, the “surplus oocytes” can be cryopreserved for use at a later time in the future when embryo cryopreservation is not feasible.

 

b. Fertility preservation for patients without a male partner.

 

c. Young women who wish to delay motherhood.

 

d. Females with time constraints and contraindications to ovarian stimulation.

 

e. Patients with problems that will possible cost them their fertility. Such medical problems may be the outcome of chemotherapy (cancer treatment), spinal cord injuries, exposure to toxic waste, chemicals, radiation and any other conditions that may lead to the removal of the ovaries.

 

f. Minimisation of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Sydrome risk.

 

g. Oocyte accumulation in low responder patients.


 

Oncofertility

A big group of patients of reproductive age are diagnosed with cancer or other diseases each year. Oncological patients undergoing treatments such chemotherapy or radiotherapy risk the wastage of their reproductive potential. An important issue for cancer survivors both men and women is the preservation of their quality of life in means of reproduction. Gamete or embryo cryopreservation is potentially the best fertility preserving treatment for oncological patients.

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