Improving The Chances Of Pregnancy

Individuals and couples struggling to get pregnant finally have a way to start or grow a family. Fertility clinics use assisted reproductive technologies (ART) to help thousands of women annually. These technologies include intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF). Both IUI and IVF require a healthy sperm sample. This sample can be fresh or frozen.

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Why do you need fresh sperm?

For ART, fertility clinics use fresh or frozen sperm. Fresh sperm is a sample taken from the male and used almost immediately. The clinic first washed the sample in a unique solution to remove any impurities. The sperm is then ready for IUI or to create embryos for IVF. Fresh samples are commonly used for couples working directly with a fertility clinic.

Keeping it frozen

Frozen samples were once fresh samples stored for use later. The clinic stores the samples in special vials mixed with a freezing solution. The vials are then slowly frozen with liquid nitrogen. The sperm remains alive and healthy thanks to this cryopreservation. The clinic thaws the sperm with a special technique when the sample is needed. Frozen sperm is common for single women, LGBTQ+ couples, and infertile couples using donor sperm.

Does fresh vs frozen impact IUI?

A common concern is that frozen sperm affects IUI. With IUI, the fertility doctor places a washed sperm into the cervix to help with pregnancy. The sperm can be fresh or frozen, depending on the circumstance. Studies show no significant difference between fresh and frozen sperm for IUI. Therefore, patients can use both safely and expect positive outcomes.

What about IVF?

In vitro fertilization involves additional steps to create the embryo before transplanting. The woman may require fertility medication first. The fresh or frozen sperm is combined into embryos, then when the doctor gives the all-clear, the team will insert the embryo into the uterus. Studies show that frozen sperm also works well for IVF.

The factors that matter

If fresh or frozen sperm does not determine the outcome, what does? The health of the sperm and patients matter much more than the sperm type. Sperm for older men with shape and mobility issues negatively impact IUI. The same goes for IVF. Sperm quality can impact the success of IVF cycles. The woman’s overall health, like a healthy uterine lining or healthy ovarian reserve, matters. Age and overall fertility also matter. These factors will focus on whether the fresh or frozen sperm is healthy.

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