Introduction of Sperm Banking | Minnesota

Cryopreservation (rapid freezing) is the method of preserving sperm for future use. There are many reasons an individual would choose to prepare for possible sterility, including

1. Pending cancer treatments
2. Elective vasectomy
3. Infertility (use frozen donor semen)
4. Initiating hormone therapy
5. Having a high risk job.

For some men, sperm banking is almost a necessity. Men diagnosed with cancer during their early 20’s face a course of chemotherapy likely to provide a cure but also likely to adversely affect sperm production. Their only hope of fathering children is with preservation and storage of sperm obtained prior to chemotherapy. For years, sperm banks have been providing this service.

On occasion, a vasectomy candidate will ask about storing his sperm prior to undergoing vasectomy. The question is whether sperm freezing and storage (cryopreservation) might be considered a reasonable alternative to vasectomy reversal in the unlikely event that the individual wishes to father children in the future.

For another group of men, infertility has necessitated use of donor semen. While these men may be infertile for a variety of reasons, use of donor sperm allows their wives to experience pregnancy and childbirth, obviously not part of the adoption process. Nearly all donor sperm used nowadays is obtained from frozen semen. Fresh semen is almost never used because infected donors may not test positive for hepatitis and AIDS until weeks after donation. Cryopreservation of semen provides the safety net needed to confirm that sperm donors are healthy and have negative tests weeks or months after donating.

Frozen semen can be stored for an indefinite amount of time. It can be used effectively in different types of fertility treatments, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), intrauterine insemination (IUI), or gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT).

RISUG- An Exciting, Potential Vasectomy Alternative | Minnesota

Reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance (RISUG) is a procedure that could someday replace vasectomy as a long-term form of birth control. While RISUG and vasectomies have similar goals, the way they achieve those goals are quite different. Vasectomies involve cutting the vas deferens, and tying/stapling/cauterizing the open ends of the vas deferens. Even with the minimally invasive no-scalpel vasectomy, it is still a surgical procedure. RISUG is different- there is no cutting involved. Instead of severing the vas deferens, a polymer known as styrene maleic anhydride (SMA) is injected into the vas, which quickly hardens. This barrier does not block sperm; rather, it renders all the sperm that passes through it inactive, preventing conception. Reversing it simply requires another injection which dissolves the polymer, allowing the passage of motile sperm.

RISUG provides a solution for a couple of problems that still affect vasectomies. First, it prevents backpressure from sperm in the epididymis and granulomas, which, while rare, are still a potential inconvenience for some who have a regular vasectomy. While RISUG procedure is not permanent (~10 years), it is very affordable and can be replaced indefinitely. It’s impermanence is a feature for some, as it is very easy to reverse the procedure. In the past few years, vasectomy reversals have become very effective, but they’re still known to fail and are costly compared to the initial vasectomy. The recovery time is short, and couples may resume intercourse within a week.

Unfortunately, its development both here and abroad has been rocky. As of last year, advanced clinical trials on humans had very few volunteers- just 64 out of a targeted 500. In the US, the intellectual property rights are owned by the Parsemus Foundation, a non-profit, and is called “Vasalgel™”. Animal trials so far have been successful, but it still may be some time until human trials begin. Hopefully, this technology will one day revolutionize male birth control, but for now no-scalpel vasectomies are the best option for those seeking long-term male birth control.

Why Male Sterilization Is the Way to Go? | Minnesota

Around 2.4 percent of all men have had a vasectomy worldwide. Male sterilization is most common in developed areas of the world, especially North America, Asia, and Western Europe, where birth rates have declined. In America, 7 percent of men have had a vasectomy, 9 out of 10 of them married men. This number has been static since 1990s, and shows no signs of changing.

The alternative to male sterilization is female sterilization, usually tubal ligation, wherein the fallopian tubes are cut and blocked up. It is commonly referred to as “getting your tubes tied”. This keeps eggs from being released into the womb, preventing conception.

A similar method known as the tubal implant method involves placing spring-like coils into the fallopian tubes, causing scar tissue to form, which blocks the tubes. This can take up to 3 months to be effective.

Vasectomy is both more effective and safer than tubal ligation. Vasectomies are nearly 100% of effective and less likely to fail compared to a tubal ligation. Furthermore, complications are less likely with a vasectomy. Part of this is due to vasectomies being inherently safer and less invasive than a tubal ligation due to where the vas deferens are located compared to the fallopian tubes. Thus, vasectomies are also more convenient and more affordable compared to tubal ligation.

Despite this, tubal ligation is still more popular than vasectomy worldwide, by a factor of four or five times. Why is this the case? Well, historically reproduction was a duty that women were responsible for. In the past it was left to the woman to put on that condom, take her birth control pills, or get an abortion. Also consider, even today, that much of the male identity was tied with his fertility and ability to raise kids. Being sterile is not considered “manly”. So why would men get vasectomies when it was easier to just make women get a tubal ligation? The society we live in today is thankfully a little less sexist, and now it’s accepted that some of the responsibility lies on the man’s shoulders as well. Vasectomies are the best form of birth control, hands-down.

What about Ejaculation After Vasectomy? | Minneapolis & St Paul

Men in Minnesota who plan to have a vasectomy always wonder what their ejaculations will be like afterwards. This is not an unusual question’ many are simply curious, while others have anxiety about this sort of thing.

Generally speaking, patients haven’t had any issues of ejaculation after vasectomy. Post-vasectomy ejaculation should be no different than it was before the procedure.
This blog is going to address some common questions related to initial post-vasectomy ejaculations.

1. When is the earliest time for the first ejaculation after the procedure?
Most doctors recommend waiting for a week, other doctors recommend a few days. There is no “scientifically” correct answer. Regardless of when you start sexual activities, the most important thing is that you still use protection until you are cleared.

2. Are the initial ejaculations painful after the vasectomy?
Most patients should not have painful ejaculations after a vasectomy. A few patients reported mild discomfort in the first ejaculation. If the patient starts sexual activities very early (within a week), they may experience some discomfort due to local swelling, bruising, or tenderness.

3. Do the ejaculations change after a vasectomy?
No, the ejaculations after a vasectomy will be pretty much the same as they were before the vasectomy procedure. There are no noticeable changes in volume, color, or smell of semen. The force of your ejaculations will also remain same after your vasectomy.

The only thing that really changes in post-vasectomy semen is that it no longer contain any sperm. Sperm only accounts for less than 5% of the volume of a man’s ejaculate, so the tiny change is not going to be noticeable. In fact, the volume of semen naturally varies at that rate based on fluid intake, diet, physical activities, frequency of ejaculation, etc.

4. Should I be concerned about blood in ejaculations after a vasectomy?
Blood in the ejaculate often causes great concern to the men who experience it after a vasectomy. This is due to a condition called hematospermia, or hemospermia. It could occasionally happen in the first month after a vasectomy. If you can imagine, the vas tube has been opened and any resultant blood from the wound or ruptured capillary vessels can pass through the tube during healing.

Post vasectomy hematospermia is an uncommon finding after a vasectomy however it is not alarming. Most cases of hematospermia after vasectomy are generally self-limited, and it usually resolves within a few weeks. No further diagnostic workup is needed; however, in some patients, hematospermia may be the first indicator of other urologic diseases such as prostate or seminal vesicle (male sex glands). If it persists, it may be wise to consult with a urologist.