Cryopreservation of Testicular Tissue


Freezing of testicular tissue is performed when there is no sperm found in the semen. This condition of having no sperm in the semen is known as azospermia. There are two reasons why sperm may not be present in the semen. An obstruction may exist in the tubule system blocking the ability the sperm to mix with the semen. A man who has undergone a vasectomy would be considered to have obstructed azospermia. In other instances, there may appear to no observable blockage of the tubule system, but no sperm are present in the semen. These conditions would be described as unobstructed azospermia. Sperm are usually present in men with obstructed azospermia, while only about half the men with unobstructed azospermia will have sperm found in their testicular tissue.


Men who are diagnosed with azospermia are referred to a local urologist who will evaluate the potential cause for his condition. The procedure for collecting and cryopreserving testicular tissue requires the urologist to perform a testicular biopsy in his operating room. An embryologist may be present at the testis biopsy to evaluate the tissue for the presence of sperm and properly prepare it for cryopreservation. In cases of known obstructed azospermia, the presence of an embryologist is usually not necessary, and the testis tissue is collected and transported by courier to the laboratory at Virginia IVF and Andrology Center where it is evaluated and cryopreserved.


Testicular tissue is maintained in our cryostorage facility and is subject to our storage policy.