Surgical Sperm Retrieval

Surgical sperm retrieval is a technique for collecting sperm for fertility purposes. The process is usually indicated for men with:

  • A previous history of vasectomy
  • An absent vas deferens (the tube that drains sperm from the testicle) since birth.
  • Testicles that produce a low quantity of sperm which do not reach the vas deferens.
  • An obstruction of the reproductive system due to infection, injury or other causes preventing the release of sperm.

Some of the techniques to retrieve sperm from the male reproductive tract include:

  • PESA (Percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration): This procedure retrieves sperm from the epididymis, the place where sperm is stored after being formed in the testes. The collection is done with the help of a fine needle.
  • TESE (Testicular sperm extraction): In this procedure, sperm is retrieved from the testicular tissue by making a small incision in the scrotal skin. The procedure is performed as an outpatient procedure under general anaesthesia combined with local anaesthesia.

These procedures are performed outpatient under a combination of general and local anaesthesia and may take a few hours at the hospital. The sperm is examined for quality and frozen for storage. It is later thawed and used for fertilisation.