BSIP, LAURENT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BSIP, LAURENT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sperm bank. Several microtubules (or straws) of cryogenically stored (frozen) sperm being removed from the storage tank. This container is filled with liquid nitrogen, which keeps its contents at minus 196 degrees Celsius. After a sample is removed and thawed, the most healthy sperm cells are selected by a computer imaging system and then used for in vitro fertilisation (IVF) to treat infertile couples. Storage of frozen sperm can preserve a man's ability to have children if he becomes infertile. Use of sperm from an anonymous donor can also help couples where only the male partner is infertile.
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