Fertility is fleeting, and not just for women. Turns out that men have biological clocks too, and, therefore, also experience an age-related decline in fertility. Specifically, as men age, sperm count and motility decline, making it more difficult for fertilization to occur. It’s been reported that average sperm count has declined by as much as 50% from the late 1930’s and continues to decline by roughly 2% per year. And, unfortunately, the DNA integrity of sperm also decreases with age, which can increase the chance that you will pass on genetic mutations to your offspring, leading to developmental problems like autism and schizophrenia.
But while fertility is sometimes lost on the young, the rewards of parenting are not. So, if you are in your 20s or 30s, and becoming a father is on your bucket list, but somewhere near the bottom of that list, freezing your sperm might be the way to go. Scientific advancements have made sperm freezing – also called sperm banking – an effective, convenient, and affordable way for men to preserve their fertility. Here’s how it works: You find a sperm bank and provide a semen sample. The sample is then transferred to specially designed vials, and a cryopreservative compound is added to help protect the health of the sperm during freezing and thawing. The vials are placed in the freezer and the temperature is gradually decreased to below freezing. The sperm bank will keep your samples frozen for as long as you want or need, allowing you to slow down the ticking of your biological clock – babies have been conceived using sperm that has been frozen for up to 20 years. If fatherhood isn’t on the horizon for you yet, here are 5 Reasons Why It Is Cool to Freeze your Sperm:
1. Parenting is awesome . . . especially after you’ve lived a little! Take that sailing trip around the world, climb that corporate ladder, play the field. By freezing your sperm now, you can preserve your fertility until you are truly ready to be a parent. And, all frivolity aside, sperm banking can give you a chance at parenthood even under the unfortunate circumstance that you require chemotherapy for cancer treatment, or experience a medical condition that impacts fertility.
2. The sperm you make in your 20s is less likely than sperm you make in your 40s and 50s to carry genetic mutations. Save some of your youthful, healthy sperm now to help ensure your future kids are as healthy as possible.
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3. Duty calls, which sometimes requires that you be away from your partner for extended periods of time. By freezing your sperm, long military deployments or extensive business travel no longer have to delay your or your partner’s dreams of parenthood.
4. Sperm freezing can alert you to fertility problems. Most sperm banks offer a comprehensive semen analysis as part of the sperm banking process, and will inform you if your current sperm health is compromised. If so, you can begin working on a plan to improve it. Supplementation with antioxidant nutrients, like those found in FertilAid for Men, Count Boost and Motility Boost help to promote sperm health.
5. Feeling altruistic? Donating your healthy, youthful sperm to a sperm bank can help someone else’s dreams of parenting come true.
Before deciding which sperm bank to use for sperm storage, be sure to do your homework. Ask about laboratory accreditations, state licenses, and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) compliance. And, make sure you understand all of the costs associated with storing and withdrawing your sperm. Oh, and about the awkward, uncomfortable semen collection part of this story. There’s a solution for that too. The NextGen Home Sperm Banking kit allows you to collect a semen sample in the comfort of your own home, and then ship it to the state-of-the-art storage facilities at the Cleveland Clinic – one of the nation’s most reputable sperm banking facilities.
Think of it this way: Freezing your sperm is like a fertility insurance policy, allowing you to live your life the way you want to now, unencumbered by worries about fertility issues down the road.