Fast-freezing sperm boon for childless men

London: A new technique could be a boon for men with low sperm counts, cancer, or HIV, helping them father healthy kids.

Fast-freezing of sperm, known as vitrification, as against the slow-freezing method currently in use, helps sperm retains high levels of activity, say experts.

Current techniques mean the sperm only retains 30 to 40 percent of activity. But quick freezing nearly doubles the activity, reports the Daily Mail.

The study, conducted by experts in Chile and Germany, is scheduled for presentation at the World Congress of Fertility and Sterility in Munich.

Raul Sanchez from La Frontera University in Chile, who led the research, said: "This work shows that we can preserve functional sperm via vitrification, which gives a greater chance of success for patients with low sperm counts."

"The other great advantage of this technique is that it can eliminate potential sources of infection such as AIDS or hepatitis B, which are present in seminal plasma," he added.

Vitrification is already used to quick-freeze eggs and embryos with success, allowing spare ones to be used in IVF at a later date.

IVF or in vitro fertilisation is a process by which egg cells are fertilised by sperm outside the womb.

Following thawing, more eggs and embryos survive with vitrification than with older, slower cooling techniques.


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