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Cryopreservation is a freezing method that allows storage of living biological material for future use. Advances in freezing technology allow the preservation of fragile reproductive material, including embryos and semen. Semen is added to a liquid medium that is protective for the freezing process. This mixture is placed small vials and slowly cooled in a programmable freezer. Storage is provided under liquid nitrogen at –196 degrees C. At this low temperature, the semen can be stored for many years.
Compelling reasons for cryobanking semen include:
• Preserving semen before undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer. These oncology treatments have a toxic effect on semen.
• Banking surgically recovered sperm for an anticipated future IVF cycle.
• Concerns on the part of the male about producing a sample when needed on the day of the retrieval.
• Banking semen from a known donor (infectious disease screening is required at the time of semen collection and again after a quarantine period).
• Convenience (e.g., the male partner can not be present at the time of the retrieval due to other obligations).
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