What Is Sperm Retrieval?
Sperm retrieval is a procedure which can be performed to assist with reproduction. It might be recommended if there is little or no sperm in the ejaculate following a semen analysis, if ejaculation isn’t possible or if surrogacy, donor eggs or other assisted reproductive methods are being used. It is performed usually either in conjunction with a cycle of ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection), or alternatively may be performed in isolation.
The process locates and removes the sperm from the male testicles and is performed in several cases including if a patient has an obstruction or blockage in his tubules which prevent the sperm from leaving the testicles (obstructive azoospermia).
In addition, men who have had a vasectomy and do not want to undergo a vasectomy reversal may choose to have a sperm retrieval procedure to extract sperm from the testicle.
When Is Sperm Retrieval Recommended?
Sperm retrieval is often recommended when pregnancy is desired but not possible without medical help.
This may mean it is for couples where the man has little or no sperm in the semen, or if the man isn’t able to ejaculate.
To achieve pregnancy, sperm retrieval is performed along with in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
What does the procedure involve?
There are three sperm retrieval procedures a patient can undergo.
Percutaneous sperm aspiration (PESA)
A Percutaneous sperm aspiration, or PESA, is performed when there is a blockage or when patients do not want to undergo a vasectomy reversal.
This procedure can typically be completed using a local anaesthetic.
Testicular sperm aspiration (TESA)
A testicular sperm aspiration, or TESA, is performed when a man has a blockage or for those who suffer from non-obstructive azoospermia.
With this method, the sperm is retrieved when a needle is inserted into the sperm tubules and extracted.
Micro epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA)
Micro epididymal sperm aspiration, or MESA, can be done in the case of a PESA procedure having failed previously. MESA is performed under a microscope, with a small incision is made and sperm is extracted from fine tubules that contain sperm.