Bath Fertility

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Surgical Sperm Retrieval

When do you carry out surgical sperm retrieval?

If for some reason there are no sperm in the ejaculate (azoospermia) we are able to perform a minor procedure to retrieve sperm directly from the scrotum.

In cases of obstructive azoospermia (eg. after an unsuccessful vasectomy reversal) there is a good chance of recovering sperm directly from the testis.  In other cases (eg. unexplained azoospermia) it is often possible to recover sperm, although in a small proportion of these cases no sperm is found and this may indicate a lack of sperm production due to other causes.

For surgically retrieved sperm, ICSI treatment is required due to the relatively low numbers and motility.

samples tubes in a rack

PESA: Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration

PESA is a procedure where a fine needle is inserted into the head of the epididymis and some fluid withdrawn or aspirated, for examination by the embryologist. The epididymis is a small sac like structure next to the testis. If no sperm are found using this technique then a TESE procedure is performed.

TESE: Testicular Sperm Extraction

TESE is a procedure where some small biopsies (tiny pieces of tissue) are taken from the testis, for dissection and examination under a microscope.

Both PESA and TESE are carried out using a local anaesthetic and sedation at Bath Fertility. The sperm retrieved can either be frozen for use at a later date or used fresh. This will be discussed with you with your fertility specialist.