This is a procedure in which sperm are aspirated or extracted from the male reproductive tract (testes or epididymis), sometimes requiring the use of a microscope.
Why Sperm Retrieval?
In certain cases, male factors may play a major role in infertility for couples. Poor sperm motility or quality are common causes for male infertility. In many cases, the sperms themselves are completely absent in the semen that is ejaculated. This condition is called Azoospermia.
One major fault that could cause Azoospermia is the obstruction of flow of the semen. Past injuries, trauma, or infection in the genital area may have caused this blockage. Although rare, a small percentage of the male population suffer from Congenital Bilateral Absence of Vas Deferens (CBAVD). This is a major cause of Azoospermia and is known to occur in men with cystic fibrosis. Surgeries such as vasectomy are also reasons
To assist with reproduction, sperm retrieval from techniques such as TESA, TESE, MESA, and PESA allow men to extract and use their sperm for reproductive purposes.
Types of Procedures
Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (PESA) uses a small needle to pass directly into the head of the epididymis through the scrotal skin. Fluid is then aspirated, and the embryologist can use the fluid to retrieve sperm cells under a microscope.
Microsurgical Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (MESA) involves the dissection of the epididymis and an incision on the tubule. The incision will allow the fluids to pool onto the epididymal bed and be aspirated for sperm retrieval.
Testicular Sperm Aspiration (TESA) is where a small sample of tissue is taken from the testicle. This tissue will then be used to search for sperm.
Testicular Sperm Extraction (TESE) is a surgical procedure that opens the testicle to extract a larger sample of tissue to search and retrieve sperm. General anesthesia will be used during this process.