Hellenic Sperm Bank -HSB- has been operating in Thessaloniki Andrology and Fertility Laboratory – since 1996. HSB provides the possibility of cryopreserving homologous semen samples, that can be used by the couple in all methods of Assisted Reproduction. The HSB also has donor samples for both heterologous intrauterine inseminations as well as conventional IVF techniques or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). The cryopreservation methods used are the methods proposed by the WHO manual for semen analysis and are internationally accepted since they ensure the fertilizing capacity of sperm samples for a long time. The sperm bank in Thessaloniki Andrology Lab operates with a state license from the National Authority for Assisted Reproduction – Official Journal No 2639 / 8-12-2015, has a license to distribute samples in the European Union EU TE Code GR009402 and ensures the quality of its services with the standard ELOT EN 15224 : 2017.
How are the samples stored in a sperm bank?
The sperm bank keeps samples for long periods of time at the temperature of -196oC, in special containers. Initially the samples are subjected to a specific treatment, in order to protect the spermatozoa from the changes that will be brought about in their structure and function by the exposure to these particularly low temperatures. For cryopreservation, the sperm sample is always divided into many aliquots. This provides the couple with the possibility to use his sample in many IVF attempts.
When do we need the sperm bank?
There are several reasons why a man will need to “ safequard ” his sample in a sperm bank.
- Several diseases – especially cancer – have serious spermatotoxic effects. In many cases spermatogenesis is affected not only by the disease but also by the treatment of choice.
- In cases with micro deletions of the Y chromosome (AZF). Men with AZF usually have azoospermia (absence of spermatozoa in the ejaculate). In some cases, however, a small number of spermatozoa may be present in the sample. Sperm cryopreservation is then considered necessary because the production of spermatozoa from the testes will stop over time.
- Athletes who use anabolic steroids during their training session may need to cryopreserve their sample to ensure their fertility.
- Working and exposure to toxic environments for the sperm, such as radiation, high temperature and chemicals.
- The absence of the husband during the fertile days of the wife.
Can testicular tissue be frozen?
There are sperm samples in which spermatozoa can not be found, a condition called azoospermia. A large percentage of patients with azoospermia will undergo a testicular biopsy. The testicular biopsy is an attempt to find spermatozoa in the testicular tissue and use them later in in vitro fertilization. Testicular tissue samples are stored in special containers in the sperm bank, in liquid nitrogen tanks for future use.
For the details of the freezing of the sperm please contact the laboratory.