In order to obtain sperm of optimal quality, it is important that patients follow clinic instructions for semen collection. (Be aware that clinics may have different protocols for sperm collection for intrauterine insemination and in vitro fertilization. Also, some programs may have men take an antibiotic prior to collection for IVF cases.) Common instructions follow:
Masturbation is the most frequent method used to produce a sperm sample on the day of oocyte retrieval. Occasionally, intercourse using a special condom or electroejaculation is required for successful collection. Some men are unable to ejaculate or have no sperm in their semen. In these special cases, urologists can often obtain usable sperm from the testicle or the epididymis utilizing a minor surgical procedure.
Some physicians recommend that all men who are able to ejaculate and produce sperm preserve a semen sample by cryopreservation (freezing) several days prior to the day of egg retrieval. This frozen sample can be an important insurance policy if problems arise in the production or quality of the sample on the day of egg retrieval. These back-up sperm may be discarded if not needed on the day of retrieval unless otherwise specified. In addition, some physicians require that men take antibiotics prior to collection for IVF.
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