karenanna said:Surgical sperm retrieval (SSR)
Surgical Sperm Retrieval may be required in men when there is:
1. An obstruction preventing the release of sperm
2. A congenital condition, for example in men born without the tube that drains sperm from the testicle (the vas deferens)
3. Non-obstructive azoospermia - the testicles are producing such low numbers of sperm that they don't reach the vas deferens
4. A vasectomy
In conditions 1, 2 & 4, sperm are produced by the testes, but are unable to be ejaculated because of the blockage or absence of the vas deferens. Sperm can be collected directly from the epididymis.
Occasionally it may be possible to surgically unblock the tube that carries the sperm.
Where a man has had a vasectomy it may be possible to have a vasectomy reversal, however this depends on the time since the original vasectomy and the position of the original operation to cut the tube.
In the 3rd condition, non-obstructive azoospermia very small amounts of sperm may be produced and can be collected directly from the testes.
Techniques to retrieve sperm
PESA (Percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration) is the collection of sperm through a fine needle directly from the epididymis, where sperm is stored, after it is formed in the testes.
TESE (Testicular sperm extraction) is the collection of sperm from a biopsy or several biopsies from the testicular tissue after making a small incision in the scrotal skin.
The above procedures are usually carried out under a light general anesthetic combined with the use of a local anesthetic. Sometimes clinics may carry out PESA first and if they are not successful in extracting sperm using this method they progress to TESE, which is a slightly more invasive procedure due to the incision.
Sperm is extracted, tested for quality and frozen for storage. The procedures usually involve collecting enough sperm to have several cycles of treatment, if required.
Frozen sperm is then thawed and used to inject the eggs obtained during IVF treatment using a technique called ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection). ICSI is required as the sperm retrieved in this way are immature, and are incapable of fertilisation without assistance.
Women on Fertility Friends with partners undergoing this treatment usually seek advice and support on the ICSI boards - CLICK HERE ICSI
And Men usually seek support in the Mens' Room - CLICK HERE MENS' ROOM
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