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Current Trends in Clinical Embryology

Human sperm vitrification: state of the art

Mini-review, 142 - 153
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The cryopreservation of human spermatozoa is routinely performed to preserve fertility prior to radiotherapy or chemotherapy in cancer patients or for reproductive medicine programmes. The gold standard method for sperm preservation is rapid freezing. An alternative to conventional cryopreservation protocols is vitrification, which to date has not been used for routine sperm cryopreservation.
Sperm vitrification has some advantages: it renders the use of potentially toxic permeable cryoprotectants superfluous, it enables even a low number of spermatozoa to be preserved, and could have great potential in assisted reproduction. However, some doubts about this method still remain: not all carriers are standardized and certified for cryogenics. There is also a concern about the technical difficulties or risk of cross-contamination in an open freezing system. This minireview summarizes the studies conducted on different sperm vitrification technologies, including cryoprotectant-free and non-permeable cryoprotectant systems and the different carriers used. It also discusses the literature data on live births from vitrified spermatozoa and compares vitrification against slow and rapid freezing, above all in terms of sperm motility, viability and DNA integrity.

Vol. 5 (No. 3) 2018 September - December

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