What does sperm collection and preparation involve?
Sperm collection and preparation is part of the assisted conception techniques. Adequate collection and optimal preparation can affect the number of good quality sperm to be implanted.
Sperm collection consists in obtaining sperm, usually through masturbation, for assisted conception techniques. Using masturbation, the sample is collected directly to a clean cup. This is usually performed at the fertility clinic, in a private area.
There are also collection condoms which are special condoms that allow sperm collection through sexual intercourse.
When a man doesn’t have sperm in the ejaculate, sperm can be collected by surgical extraction. Surgery involves local anaesthesia and/or sedation and collecting sperm from the epididymis (PESA) or from the testicles (TESE). These techniques can be used when the man had a vasectomy or has a low sperm count and are performed as day cases.
Once collected, the fertility clinic must handle the sample with care. A good lab will use quality controlled, non-toxic dishes, pipettes and tubes that are safe and not harmful for human reproductive cells. Sperm will be kept in a solution with carbohydrates and amino acids, so it gets the nutrients and energy to survive.
Both fresh and frozen sperm can be used for IVF/ICSI/IUI, and both present similar pregnancy and live birth rates. You can read research on this here.
You may need to use frozen sperm if:
The process of freezing and thawing sperm may compromise its integrity, making it more difficult to fertilize eggs.
There are a lot of environment, habits and lifestyle choices that can affect the quality of your sperm. I recommend you read our article on what you can do to improve the quality of your sperm here.
If you need advice or support regarding your environment, habits or lifestyle book a consultation with our registered nurse and coach.