Why Some Guys Should Consider Freezing Their Sperm!

Through the years, the media attention for egg freezing and fertility preservation has been solely centered on women. However, unbeknownst to many, men can and should freeze their sperm too! 

The process for sperm freezing is simpler than freezing eggs. All men really have to do is produce a sample and pay for the storage. 

Sperm freezing, also known as cryopreservation, is a procedure of preserving healthy sperm cells at very low temperatures for use at a future date. Sperm are frozen using a special media then keep sperm in liquid nitrogen at minus 196°C. There is no concrete evidence that shows when a sperm sample expires, but there have been babies born from 20-year-old frozen sperm samples. 

For ages, women have lived under pressure from the inevitable fertility time bomb that ticks as you age. However, according to research, this time bomb extends to men’s fertility, as well.

In an article published by Maturitas, sperm banking is highlighted as an option for men who are planning to delay fatherhood. It is also an excellent option for those persons who are planning to undergo gender affirmation surgery but desire biological children in the future.

While infertility and potential complications in an aging woman is common knowledge, similar factors have not been well studied in aging men, and because there are relatively few studies that have, the effects of advancing paternal age on sperm quality are not much discussed in the mainstream consciousness or media. However, the study suggests a decline in fertility and increased risk of gestational diabetes, preterm birth, intrauterine growth restriction, and other pregnancy complications in children conceived from sperm derived from older dads.

Furthermore, evidence shows that children born to older men could have increased risk of chromosomal and non-chromosomal birth defects and an increased incidence of childhood autism and cancers.

So, when should a man consider having his sperm samples stored and frozen? Well, I have come up with a few good reasons as to who and why some guys should consider sperm freezing method.

Guys With Only One Testicle

Men usually have two sperm-producing testicles. However, there may be a few instances where some of them only have one, or if they still have two, only one may be functional. 

  1. Cryptorchidism – This is when one testicle is descended and the other is still undescended. 
  2. Congenital – This means that some men are simply born with just one testicle. 
  3. Surgically Removed – A testicle can be surgically removed for various reasons like injuries or tumors. 

Having only one testicle rarely affects a man’s fertility. It can, however, affect a man’s sperm count, the amount of sperm a man can produce. So if you are in doubt, it might be the time to get a semen analysis and then decide if freezing your sperm for the future might be needed. 

Guys Starting Hormonal Therapies

If you are someone who is thinking about transitioning into being a transwoman, freezing your sperm would be a great preservation option for you. We understand that children are probably the least of your priorities now. However, just in case you change your mind, sperm freezing is one way to help make sure that your options for biological children will be open someday. Ideally, try to freeze your sperm before you start taking any hormonal medication. 

For some women who are transitioning from being born with testicles, the hormones you take during your transition may hinder you from producing biological children in the future. Orchiectomies, a procedure for removing testicles, can greatly cause fertility problems.

If you identify yourself as a transgender woman, or if transitioning is something you are contemplating, freezing your sperm should be an option that you consider, in order to produce children in the future.

Guys Undergoing Chemotherapy or Radiation Therapy

Certain types of cancer and cancer treatments can affect one’s fertility. If a person with cancer decides to have a child, a plan must be made before taking any action. And this involves sperm preservation for men. 

Before starting chemotherapy or radiation therapy, you should speak to a fertility doctor to discuss preservation options. Your fertility doctor will help you preserve your sperm samples so you can have the option to produce a child in the future. It is essential that your fertility doctor knows the type of cancer and the medication plan you will be on so your doctor could determine if those put your fertility at risk. 

Guys Born With Small Testicles

A man’s testicle is an oval-shaped, sperm-producing organ with the scrotum. And its size varies from person to person. Usually, the size has little to no effect on one’s fertility. The average size for a testicle would be 1.8 inches to 2 inches. Small testicles have a size of less than 1.4 inches.

The testicles are there for two reasons: (1.) Sperm production, (2.) Testosterone production. Since sperm cells come from your testicles, your sperm count would be dependent on the size of your testicles. Having small testicles would likely mean that your sperm count may not be as high as those with average-sized testicles. However, smaller sized testicles can still yield normal fertility when compared to larger-sized testicles. 

There are many reasons why men should start preserving and freezing sperm. In this article, I’ve listed a few major factors that people consider when planning and building their families. Guys should definitely consider freezing their sperm just to make sure that you have your options wide open when the time comes. Although having kids may not be your priority now, who is to say that it will not be your priority at a later date. 

In a world where career advancement and innovation are primary goals, choosing to conceive or have kids much later in life has become commonplace. Whether infertility is caused by older age or not, about 7% of couples experience infertility related to sperm fitness/health. The first part of this article tackled the possible implications of older age to the risks of various conditions in the future child. These risks may be small, but men can find peace of mind in freezing their healthy sperm now for use later — a convenience you should never pass up!

Menopause Happens: My Take On the “The 7 Habits” and Menopause

Menopause!!! No one likes to talk about it, but it happens whether we talk about it or not. We whisper about the “m word” and only feel comfortable when we are around another woman having a hot flash. Then we exhale, let our guards down and bond over our shared misery. 

The “peri” aspect of menopause sucks and can be a long, drawn out, crazy, topsy-turvy time of hormonal fluctuations with physical, mental and emotional health manifestations; many of which impinge on your quality of life. It’s like puberty (hello pimples, irregular periods, mood swings and hair in weird places ) all over again except you have a mortgage, job and a lot of responsibilities. Unfortunately , the “moody” menopausal woman doesn’t have the luxury of brooding in her room. For many women in their late forties and fifties, this is a time of full career commitments while sandwiched between raising children and caring for aging parents.

Menopause was early for me (like it was for my mother) and fortunately the “peri” lasted less than 2 years. My biggest symptoms were drenching night sweats, horrid hot flashes worse with coffee and wine (my favorites) and insomnia, which may have made me a tad irritable at home and at work. I was single during my transition so I didn’t have to worry about the impact on my sex life which I know many women have to contend with. For many women, symptoms are more severe and the mental health impact goes beyond mood swings. Depression and anxiety can occur. These are serious and should be discussed with a professional. 

Nowadays, I talk about the menopause transition, laugh at myself and even offer advice to friends going through menopause. I have read the Steve Covey book, ”The 7 habits of highly effective people” a few times and try to apply the habits in my daily life. As a confident post- menopausal woman, here is my take on The “Covey 7“ and menopause. These 7 habits are broken into personal victories (habits 1-3), public victories (habits 4-6) and renewal/sharpening the saw. 

1. Be Proactive: Since we know menopause is inevitable, you can start planning. The median age for entering menopause is 52 years but maternal history matters. If you have access to your mom’s age at menopause that is helpful. Menopause usually doesn’t happen suddenly, in the absence of surgical or other therapy induced menopause. You actually will have time to research symptoms of perimenopause, best management options, what to expect. Research natural ways to manage symptoms. Talk to friends who have gone through menopause. Talk to your health care provider or gynecologist about what to expect and the best ways to manage your symptoms. Talk to your spouse or partner about what may happen as the process begins. They deserve a heads up about fluctuating thermostat settings, a libido that may be cool and damp sheets that may come from excessive sweating!

2. Begin With the End in Mind: The perimenopause- menopause period (pun intended) however short or long it seems will be done soon enough. The drenching night sweats, hot flashes and mood swings will stop. Your concentration and libido will return though you may emerge a few pounds heavier. Soon enough, you’ll be able to talk about it, laugh about it and drink wine without breaking into a sweat. You will be able to travel without tampons or pads, no more PMS and you never have to worry about unintentionally getting pregnant.  *Infectious Disease (ID) doc alert – you still need condoms to protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and consider prophylactic treatment (PrEP) for HIV prevention if you are not in a monogamous relationship. 

3. Put First Things First:  This is about YOU. Yes, millions of women go through menopause each year but they are not you. Focus on yourself.  Are you healthy? Are your symptoms just menopause or is something else going on. How is your mental health? Make sure your health screenings are up to date. Schedule and complete your routine health exams like knowing your body mass index (BMI), getting your Colonoscopy, mammograms, gynecological exams and checking on your bone health are especially important if you find yourself considering hormone replacement therapy. This is a time to prioritize your self care and what you need to make yourself comfortable. If you need special expensive sheets to help with the sweats or to feel cooler at night,  get them. If massages help, then treat yourself guilt-free. Your mental health is important too. If you need therapy, get it. Eating healthy and exercising helps to attenuate the weight gain. This is about YOU. 

4. Think Win Win: When this is done you will be post-Menopausal. This is a new stage for you and the start of the next phase. Benefits – no periods, no possibility of pregnancy and you will save so much on tampons and period care products. It is also a time of maturity and growth where you can pursue hobbies and interests with renewed vigor. Embrace this as becoming older and wiser with so much to offer the younger generation.

5. Seek First to Understand then be Understood: This is a tough one to do… realizing that people who have not gone through menopause may not understand. Some women who had little or no symptoms may think you are overreacting and may not be as empathetic. People only see the outward manifestations. This means they react  to your irritability or mood swings without understanding what’s going on. For close people like spouses, partners or grown up children, a heads up or talk could help. Many times, once they know what’s going on, they are more likely to want to “get” to know how you feel. My daughters teased me about the hot flashes but that just brought some levity to the situation. 

6. Synergize: Bond with other women in the perimenopause or menopause stage and unite forces. Share tips on things that helped you as you transitioned to this new phase. Share recommendations and resources knowing that it’s not a one- size fits all. Stop whispering about menopause, it’s a natural part of living and aging… No shame or stigma. Take all the hugs you can get.

7. Renewal: This is emerging from the transition as a confident, older and wiser woman who is now post-menopausal. This is you taking care of yourself. Reflecting, renewing, refreshing, restarting, resetting as you embrace this new stage in life. You are amazing and have so much to conquer and accomplish. 

Change is hard EVEN when it is inevitable. The transition can be rough but you’ve got this sis !


About The Author

Toyin Falusi, MD is an infectious disease physician, author, and podcaster. Follow her on IG: @doctortfal

Her book is “The Decade After: Thriving after Divorce”


Podcast: “10mins with TmFal” is on iTunes/Apple/Spotify/Anchor