Future Use of Samples
Banked cryopreserved semen can be used for reproduction in several ways. The particular method chosen will depend on the quality and quantity of sperm cryopreserved. The age of the patient and his partner are important factors as well.
If there is an adequate number of samples of good quality available most couples will just attempt to initiate a pregnancy with intra-uterine insemination (IUI).
Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI) is the least technical and least expensive method of using frozen sperm. During IUI, the doctor places the thawed, washed sperm within the uterus of the female partner, near the time she is ovulating. Semen quality, female fertility factors and age will affect pregnancy rates. Furthermore, the number of specimens frozen will determine how many IUI attempts can be made. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, the average pregnancy requires 4-5 ovulatory cycles with IUI. More vials of frozen sperm increase the chance of a successful pregnancy, as well as the ability to attempt subsequent pregnancies.
In vitro fertilization refers to the assisted reproductive technique in which eggs are taken from a woman's ovaries and then fertilized with her partner's sperm in the laboratory. The fertilized eggs, or embryos, are then transferred into the womb and the fetus is carried in the women's uterus until birth.
Males who are unable to produce more than one sample because of health or time constraints, or whose sample may have sub-optimal levels of sperm should still be encouraged to bank semen. Newer assisted reproductive techniques, such as Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) make fertilization possible with only very few sperm. Similar to IVF, eggs are harvested from the female's ovaries; a single motile sperm is injected directly into the egg, greatly increasing the chances of successful fertilization. The fertilized egg is transferred into the womb and carried in the woman's uterus until birth. The field of assisted reproductive technology is expanding and changing rapidly. It is possible that research will lead to newer and even more successful options in the future.