Sperm Retrieval in Male Factor Infertility
What is Sperm Retrieval?
Sperm retrieval is an advanced microsurgical technique used to harvest sperm in cases of male factor infertility where there is little or no sperm present in the ejaculate.
Why Consider Sperm Retrieval?
Sperm retrieval is a minimally invasive procedure that has proven effective at obtaining viable sperm for use in IVF (in vitro fertilization). The fertility specialists at SCRC have extensive experience in extracting sperm. In fact, sperm retrieval after vasectomy and even after chemotherapy is now being performed on a routine basis.
Diagnosis for Male Factor Infertility
To know whether sperm retrieval is the right male factor infertility treatment for you, you need to start by getting an accurate diagnosis to uncover the specific cause of infertility.
Types of Sperm Retrieval
Based on the male partner’s semen analysis and a thorough physical examination, SCRC’s fertility specialists will determine the most appropriate method of sperm retrieval. Sperm are directly obtained either from the epididymis or the testicles. Retrieval from the epididymis is preferred wherever possible, because epididymal sperm responds better to cryopreservation (freezing). The most commonly used types of sperm retrieval are:
MESA (microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration)
If there is sperm in the epididymis, MESA (microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration) is preferred as a sperm retrieval method. Under local anesthesia, a small incision is made in the scrotum. A micropuncture pipette quickly and accurately punctures the epididymal tubule, and the sperm is aspirated through the pipette. The sperm is examined under a microscope for viability, and the incision is closed. Another technique, PESA (percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration) has the advantage of not requiring a scrotal incision, but has less consistent results in terms of yielding viable sperm.
TESE (testicular sperm extraction)
For men with little or no sperm in the epididymis, or if there is no epididymis, sperm can be retrieved directly from the testicles. Performed under local anesthesia, a sliver of testicular tissue is microdissected under an operating microscope. The procedure takes only a few minutes and causes very little post-operative pain or discomfort. Pregnancy success rates are similar to those achieved with epididymal sperm. However, testicular sperm does not respond to cryopreservation as well as normally ejaculated or epididymal sperm.
Any excess sperm from either epididymal extraction (MESA) or testicular extraction (TESE) can be cryopreserved (SCRC’s fertility specialists are experts in sperm freezing) for use later, although sperm from these sources exhibit greater sensitivity to freezing than ejaculated sperm. Therefore, patients may sometimes require a second TESE or MESA procedure in case no sperm are viable upon thawing.
Using Retrieved Sperm in IVF
After the retrieved sperm are washed and further prepared in the IVF lab, they are injected directly into the partner’s eggs using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), and the IVF cycle proceeds as usual. Many couples with male factor infertility have successfully conceived with IVF using sperm extraction methods. The refinement of microsurgical techniques, combined with advances in cryopreservation technology, has resulted in high pregnancy rates.
To Find Out if Sperm Retrieval May be an Option for You:
Call SCRC at (800) 600-9112 to speak to one of our helpful, friendly fertility consultants. They will be happy to answer any questions you might have regarding sperm retrieval or anything else, and can quickly schedule a consultation for you with an SCRC fertility specialist. If you prefer, simply click here to contact us.
Frequently Asked Questions