As many as 15% of infertile men have no sperm in their semen. This condition is called azoospermia and can be divided into two categories.
- ‘Obstructive azoospermia‘ is due to blockage in the reproductive tract.
- ‘Non-obstructive azoospermia‘ is caused by problems in sperm production.
A simple semen analysis where semen sample are examined under a high-powered microscope would reveal if a man has azoospermia. Two or more checks on separate occasions confirms the diagnosis. Hormone levels of FSH are also tested to find out the underlying problem.
Depending on the cause, a man with azoospermia is still able to father a child through surgical techniques combined with In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) treatment.
What is surgical sperm retrieval?
Surgical sperm retrieval is a method where sperm is directly collected from the epididymis or testicle.
There are several lines of approach and varies in the:
- Access to the site (through the skin or by an open incision)
- Method of retrieval (aspiration or biopsy)
- Location where tissue is taken (epididymis or testicle)
- Type of anaesthesia (sedation or general anaesthesia)
- The use of microsurgical equipment
Surgical sperm retrieval can be arranged on the same day as egg collection in an IVF treatment cycle in order to use fresh sperm for ICSI. In other cases, surgically-retrieved sperm are frozen and used for later cycles of treatment (if sufficient). Provided that sperm retrieval is successful, sperm obtained through this method yields the same potential as freshly ejaculated sperm in achieving pregnancy.
Surgical Sperm Retrieval Services
At Alpha IVF Centre, we perform 2 types of surgical sperm retrieval.
- Testicular Sperm Aspiration (TESA) is the collection of sperm percutaneously using a fine needle to the testicle via the scrotum. The aspirates are flushed into warm medium and evaluated for sperm.
- Testicular Sperm Extraction (TESE) is the collection of sperm through a biopsy of the testicular tissues. This is an open surgical procedure that involves making a small incision to the scrotal skin to access the testicle. The testicular tissues are dissected and evaluated for motile or immotile sperm.