Sperm retrieval is any way used to get sperm for fertility purposes.
There are many ways to get sperm. The method used depends on why sperm aren’t in the semen, what the patient wants, and ultimately, the surgeon’s skill.
Surgically retrieved sperm are used in an IVF/ICSI treatment cycle to achieve pregnancy.
This can be performed in situations where there is not sperm in the ejaculate that is suitable for fertility treatment. The type of procedure that is offered will depend on the underlying reason for the problem and the aim is to recover sperm from the testicles that is suitable for Sperm injection (ICSI).
Male sperm retrieval is a minimally invasive procedure that involves the extraction or aspiration of sperm from the testes. It is performed as an outpatient procedure.
Most retrieval procedures take less than 10 minutes to complete. During the procedure, you may be lightly sedated or be given a local anaesthetic to minimise discomfort.
Male sperm retrieval is recommended for men who have low sperm counts, have no presence of sperm in their ejaculate, or suffer from health conditions like cancer that can make naturally conceiving difficult or impossible. It can also be performed on men who have undergone vasectomies but would like to conceive without the trouble of undergoing a vasectomy reversal.
The inability to conceive can be frustrating and emotionally heart-wrenching for a couple. Thanks to medical science, however, couples may be able to become parents through procedures like male sperm retrieval.
- The retrieval process can involve undergoing one of several different types of procedures.
- The procedure that’s best for you will depend on the reason why you cannot produce sperm on your own.
How is sperm retrieval done?
The process of retrieving sperm can be carried out in one of several different ways. The procedure used for your retrieval will depend on your health and for what reasons the retrieval is necessary.
One of the most common retrieval methods is called testicular sperm aspiration, or TESA. During TESA, you will be given a local anaesthetic. A needle will then be inserted into your testicle before sperm is aspirated out of the tissue. This procedure is typically performed on men who have undergone vasectomies.
Another retrieval procedure is called percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration, or PESA. As with TESA, during PESA you will be given a local anaesthetic. An incision will be made in the testes to retrieve sperm. PESA is typically coordinated to occur on the same day as egg retrieval from the other parent.
Testicular sperm extraction or TESE is also a common retrieval procedure. During TESE, you will be lightly sedated prior to an incision being made in the testes. The sperm will be retrieved directly from the urethral tubes. As with TESA, this procedure is performed most often on men who have undergone vasectomies.
Micro-TESE is another option, with this method, pockets of sperm are identified and harvested with one procedure. This is performed with only a small incision, allowing for fast recovery.