Sperm Banking After Vasectomy
Vasectomy, according to the experts, is the most effective permanent form of birth control available for men. It can be compared to a tubal ligation for women; however, the efficacy of a tubal ligation is not nearly as good as that of a vasectomy. The failure rate of tubal ligation is one in 200 or 300, whereas the failure rate in vasectomy is one in 2,000. It is less costly, less invasive, has lower risk of post-operative complications and the techniques being developed now make reversal much easier. Vasectomy started to be recognized as a method of birth control during the Second World War and the first vasectomy program on a national scale was performed in India in 1954. Although tubal ligations continue to far outnumber vasectomies, especially in the Latino and Black communities, they are still being done as a means of permanent birth control for men.
Yet, many men are looking at the finality of what they have done, or will be facing, and ask themselves if it is really what they want to do. The fact is, vasectomy reversal is a longer operation than the first one (two to five hours as opposed to 30 minutes) and the rate of conception afterward is about 50%. Life changes, new relationships, or the decision to have more children are all reasons for a vasectomy reversal. However, before going the route of surgery that may not have the desired result, or before going in for permanent birth control, a man might want to consider alternatives.
Sperm Banking - A Viable and Easy Way to Preserve Sperm
Sperm banking is a viable, easy, and effective way for a man to preserve his sperm before undergoing a vasectomy. Actually, the most common reasons for men to bank their sperm is because they are about to undergo treatments or take medications which may affect their sperm production. Such situations as:
· Cancer treatments (chemo or radiation)
· Ongoing treatments with medications that affect sperm
· Surgeries that can compromise sperm production or ejaculation
· Illness that can affect performance (MS, diabetes)
· Working with environmental toxins that can damage sperm
Sperm banking is also done as part of infertility treatment where the sperm is harvested and then stored and used in assisted reproduction.
The Process for Sperm Banking is Easy and Fast
The process for banking sperm is relatively straightforward and not complicated. It isn't time consuming and doesn't require many appointments unless the lab requests a sample to freeze before actually banking the sperm. This may require a second appointment. The basic system is this:
1. Find a quality lab; meet with the representative to go over case history, medical background and to fill out paperwork.
2. Choose where the specimen will be produced - at home or at the lab. It is recommended to do so at the lab because the quality of the sperm can be better maintained. If the choice is home, then explicit instructions will be given.
3. The yield from one collection is between 1-6 vials of sperm. It is recommended that sperm from several ejaculations be stored, which will require additional appointments. Leave a couple of days between appointments to build sperm count.
4. Sperm remains frozen for as long as determined by the man.
5. When the sperm is to be used, the bank is to be advised in writing. The bank will ship the sperm to the doctor or clinic of choice. If the stored sperm is to be destroyed, the bank must receive notarized instructions directly from the individual
Evaluating Sperm for Banking
The sperm bank will do a complete semen analysis before banking the sperm. The man will know about the quality and quantity of sperm. A test freeze and thaw is usually done as well. This evaluation will allow for a general idea of sperm quality when a later pregnancy is attempted.
Freezing and Storing Banked Sperm
Sperm can be frozen indefinitely. Normal pregnancies have been reached using sperm that had been banked for more than a decade; however, there may be some question as to how effective the sperm would be after such a lengthy period. There have been no indications of an increase in abnormality in children through the use of thawed sperm.
The storage process is very particular to ensure there are no mix-ups with specimens. Some banks have a policy of processing only one specimen at a time to eliminate the possibility of confusion. The person's name and a number unique to him are recorded on each vial and tracking records are kept. It is good practice to check the sperm bank being used to ensure they follow this type of protocol.
Sperm Banking is a Good Idea
If a vasectomy is in the offing, then banking sperm is a safe, sane, and smart measure for future pregnancies. If a vasectomy has already taken place and the thought of reversal is in the air, then perhaps considering surgical removal of sperm and banking it is an alternative with merit.