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Sperm: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the sperm?

Sperm, which are the microscopic male reproductive cells, make up less than two percent of the total ejaculate. They are much smaller than the egg. Each has a head and tail, like a tadpole. When ejaculated during sexual intercourse, they swim through the vagina, through the cervical opening into the uterus and on up into the Fallopian tubes. Sperm can live for 6-8 hours in the vagina. But once they get up into the uterus and tubes they can live for three to five days. ...

How is the sperm stored?

Frozen sperm must be stored in extremely cold temperatures (minus 196 C in liquid nitrogen), the freezing process is gradual to ensure that the fewest possible sperm are damaged.

What is sperm washing?

The removal of seminal fluid and cellular contaminants such as dead sperm, white blood cells and miscellaneous debris. At Can-Am Cryo Services a two-layered gradient centrifugation system is used to yield a washed sample that contains predominantly motile sperm.
Semen can sometimes be enhanced by treating it (washing) to remove unhealthy sperm, antibodies, or seminal fluid that might be rejected by the partner's uterus. The healthy remaining sperm can then be placed directly into the partner's uterus during an intrauterine insemination (IUI) procedure .
Sperm washing is used extensively for the treatment of semen with low sperm counts, abnormal sperm forms, antibodies, and other fertility-impairing features. The "washing" is accomplished by adding culture medium (a fluid containing nutrients and buffers) to the semen and spinning the entire sample in a centrifuge (a machine that uses centrifugal force to separate heavier and lighter elements in a solution). The heavy sperm "pellet" is then rewashed in culture medium. ...

Is donor sperm safe?

While absolute safety cannot be guaranteed, the screening of sperm donors is strictly regulated by Health Canada to maximize your safety. In Vitro Fertilization

Is sperm donation anonymous?

In Switzerland, the LPMA (Article 27) states that the child can, if he wishes, ask for the donor identity and his physical characteristics (eye and hair colour, weight, height, origin). However, the recourse in paternity against the donor is illegal. The legal father of the child is the spouse of the child's mother (Article 23). This means that the child does not have any right with respect to the donor. The latter has no duty towards the child. ...
Source: www.chuv.ch

What happens to the sperm?

Not much. The sperm will continue to be produced, but there is nowhere for them to go because the tubes have been sealed. The sperm linger around the tubes, and are eventually dissolved. The proteins are then recycled back into the system for use in other body functions. This does not change the production or release of hormones (i.e. testosterone) from the testicles after the vasectomy.
Sperm are still produced in the testicles but lie around in the blocked tube for about three weeks before dissolving and being absorbed into the body in a similar way to blood after a bruise. Sperm only make up about one percent of the fluid ejaculated.
Your body will continue to create sperm, but it has nowhere to go. The sperm are recycled by the body, and some research suggests that production may slow down over time. Remember, though, this is only sperm production. Your male hormones (i.e. testosterone) will not be affected.

What hurts sperm?

Many factors can affect sperm. Previous disease/sickness, trauma or injury to groin area, lifestyle habits such as diet, smoking or drinking, surgery, hormone levels, medical treatments or exposure to environmental hazards all can hurt sperm. If any of the sperm numbers are low, it is best to consult a physician who specializes in fertility for a complete examination and evaluation.

What will happen to the sperm?

Your testicles will continue to produce sperm. When the sperm cells die, you body will absorb them. This is what happens to sperm cells that are not used – whether or not a man has had a vasectomy.
Your testes will continue to make sperm, but the cells will die and your body will reabsorb them.

How is the sperm actually frozen?

Frozen sperm must be stored in extremely cold temperatures (minus 196 C in liquid nitrogen), the freezing process is gradual to ensure that the fewest possible sperm are damaged.

When and where are sperm collected?

Sperm can be collected either at home, if you live close to your fertility clinic, or at the doctor’s office. The man will be provided with a sterile collection cup, where he can deposit his ejaculate. If you plan on using a fresh sample, then this sample needs to be delivered to your fertility doctor within a half hour of ejaculation. In some cases, a special type of condom may also be used for sperm collection. However, frozen sperm from sperm donors can be used in IUI.

What is sperm motility?

Sperm motility is the ability of sperm to move and swim. When doctors do a semen analysis, they look at several factors, including the sperm count (the number of sperm in each milliliter of seminal fluid), the volume of semen, the percent of sperm that are motile (moving), and the sperm morphology or "handsomeness" (whether they look normal).

Are you a sperm bank?

We are neither a sperm bank nor a fertility clinic. We provide search tools and information. Please read our disclaimer .

What is sperm selection?

This technique for alteration of the "chances" that a pregnancy of a selected gender will occur involves the physical separation of sperm. The human sperm cell is the gamete responsible for the determination of the sex of a resulting pregnancy. read more

How is the sperm shipped?

Each unit of semen is shipped frozen in a straw. Straws are specifically made for safe cryo storage of human semen in liquid nitrogen and nitrogen vapour. The straws are are welded on each end to keep the semen safe from contamination and tampering. Each straw is held in a visio tube clipped to a metal support rod (called a "cane") to facilitate straw removal from a refrigerated "tank" (or "dry shipper"). ...

What happened to Sperm Whale?

I became depressed and closed it in April 1999. Now I'm much happier and I'm starting to paint plastic tankards again. (see Home Crafts section).

What is a sperm granuloma?

This occurs when sperm leaks out of the testicular side of the vas, this usually protects the epididymal tubes from pressure build up and prevents damage to the epididymis, a sperm granuloma typically indicates that a Vasovasostomy can be performed and this is a good finding.

What is the sperm selection method?

Sperm manipulation as a means for preconception sex determination is carried out to increase the percentage of sperm of the desired gender used for intrauterine insemination or In Vitro Fertilization. This highly sophisticated and efficient modality utilizes our laboratories which provide with sperm specimens separated using their technology.

Why isn't fresh sperm available anymore at most sperm banks?

The semen from a donor could be infectious for a disease such as AIDS or Hepatitis at the time of its donation, and several months could pass before any tests or symptoms would reveal its presence. Most sperm banks freeze and quarantine the sperm for about six months while the donor undergoes repeated testing for these diseases. Specimens are only released when tests have remained negative for at least 180 days since the donation .

What can be done to improve a low sperm count or poor quality sperm?

Sperm is classified in terms of count, (how many millions of sperm there are per sample), and quality, including mobility. To promote better sperm production, encourage your partner to wear loose boxer shorts and trousers and take cool showers rather than hot baths. Excessive alcohol intake and smoking are also bad news for healthy sperm production so encourage your partner to cut down or quit altogether if possible. ...

Why freeze sperm?

Fresh semen is unsuitable for sperm banking because it begins losing its fertility within an hour or two after ejaculation. Since a sperm bank is expected to have available at all times semen from a diversity of donors with different physical characteristics and different talents, it is necessary to bank or store the sperm from the time of collection until the time of need. Xytex accomplishes this by extending the survival period to years through a special freezing process of cryopreservation. ...

What is sperm chromatin?

The 23 chromosomes in the sperm head are made up of chromatin, which consists of DNA and proteins.

Is freezing harmful to the sperm?

In most cases, 50% or more of the sperm survive the thawing process. With such sperm there is clearly no loss of fertilization potential.

What is intracytoplasmic sperm injection?

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is an IVF procedure in which a single healthy sperm is injected directly into the egg. ICSI is useful when the man's sperm count is very low or many sperm are abnormal or immotile. A tiny injection pipette is used to pass the sperm through the zona pellucida (outside layer) of the egg into its ooplasm (central substance). In general, ICSI is performed on several eggs. Once they have been fertilized, they are replaced inside the woman's uterus after a period of about 48 hours.

Who uses a sperm bank?

There are many indications for sperm banking....... Patients with Cancer in which the treatment (e.g., chemotherapy, radiation) or the disease itself might impair the patient's sperm production or semen quality Patients undergoing surgery on the testis, prostate or spinal cord Patients with severely impaired semen parameters can benefit from cryopreservation ...

How Will My Sperm Be Used?

The sperm samples will be used to produce up to 10 families - there may be more than one child in each family from your samples. You can specify fewer families if you wish. The law requires that you give written consent to the use and storage of your sperm and of any embryos produced from your samples. This consent may be for treating others and/or for a research project. ...
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