Sperm retrieval explained

Latest figures show 1 in every 100 men has no sperm in their semen. Often the cause is genetic, but can sometimes be attributed to sexually transmitted diseases, previous medical procedures or injury.

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If you have a low sperm count or no sperm at all you may need a surgical sperm extraction is order to conceive with IVF treatment.

Sperm retrieval explained

Sometimes a blockage means that sperm is not being ejaculated, this could be because of a vasectomy, a sexual infection or in you are unable to ejaculate.

There are a number of procedures that may be able to retrieve your sperm these are:

  • Percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration (PESA)
  • Testicular sperm aspiration (TESA)

Both PESA and TESA are performed under local anaesthetic. These procedures use a fine syringe inserted in to the testicle or epididymis to extract sperm.

  • Microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA)

MESA is performed under general anaesthetic, and examines the epididymis under an operating microscope. Fluid is taken in the hope of finding sperm that can be used for IVF treatment.

  • Testicular sperm extraction (TESE) – single or multi-site

This procedure makes an incision in the testicle to take a small sample away; this is performed under a local anaesthetic. from which sperm can hopefully be recovered. Multi-site TESE is performed under general anaesthetic, and the surgeon will remove more that one sample for analysis and hopefully sperm retrieval.

If your issue is non obstructive because of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, genetics, you’ve had a testicle removed, or you had surgery to help your testes descend then you may benefit from

  • Microscope-assisted testicular sperm extraction (MicroTESE).

This procedure examines the testicles with an operating microscope to find where sperm is being produced. These areas of sperm production are removed to extract sperm.

Ask us a question

We understand that infertility is a complex condition that can be very frustrating, but knowledge is power and we encourage you to get in touch and ask us for advice. If you need specific medical advice then we will happily put you in touch with one of our reliable healthcare partners.

Our service is free of charge, so please reach out to us today!