What’s in my vial of donor semen? (Part II)

November 21, 2014

Blog written by Fairfax Cryobank Director Stephen H. Pool, Ph.D.

Now that you understand the terms from the last post, let me explain how you use this information to understand the Fairfax Cryobank Specimen Quality Statement found on web site and in each sample shipment. Our specimen quality statement states that each IUI or ICI ready vial will contain 20 million TMC/ml (10 million TMC/vial) and our IVF units will contain 5 million TMC/vial. This is the post-thaw analysis. Therefore, each vial contains significantly more cells than 10 million. The 10 million TMC describes only the number of motile cells in the vial. In addition to the motile cells in the vial there is the cryoprotectant solution, non-motile sperm cells, and debris.

Your physician’s office will do a post-thaw evaluation once the sample is thawed and they may also further prep the sample if needed for your procedure. Keep in mind, semen is not a homogeneous mixture (i.e. sperm cells are not evenly distributed in the vial) and because of this, sample concentrations may vary from lab to lab. In addition, there can be settling during freezing so the sample needs to be mixed well before the analysis is performed.

The sample may also need to be washed following thawing (procedure dependent), and the final concentration may go down 10 to 30%. Any procedure that involves altering the sample will affect the survival of the cells which will affect percent motility and final TMC. Keep this in mind and be prepared to ask your physician questions about any post-thaw processing they may have performed or you may want to contact the sperm bank if your sample(s) do not meet your expectations or the specimen quality statement.

Good luck and I hope that you now have a better understanding of what is in my vial of donor semen.

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