Sperm retrieval can help infertile couples realize their dreams of becoming parents.
The inability to conceive can be frustrating and emotionally heartwrenching for a couple. Thanks to medical science, however, couples may be able to become parents through procedures like male sperm retrieval.
- The retrieval process can involve undergoing one of several different types of procedures.
- The procedure that’s best for you will depend on the reason why you cannot produce sperm on your own.
What is Male Sperm Retrieval?
Male sperm retrieval is a minimally invasive procedure that involves the extraction or aspiration of sperm from the testes. It is performed as an outpatient procedure.
Most retrieval procedures take less than 10 minutes to complete. During the procedure, you may be lightly sedated or be given a local anesthetic to minimize discomfort.
Male sperm retrieval is recommended for men who have low sperm counts, have no presence of sperm in their ejaculate, or suffer from health conditions like cancer that can make naturally conceiving difficult or impossible. It can also be performed on men who have undergone vasectomies but would like to conceive without the trouble of undergoing a vasectomy reversal.
How is Male Sperm Retrieval Done?
The process of retrieving sperm can be carried out in one of several different ways. The procedure used for your retrieval will depend on your health and for what reasons the retrieval is necessary.
One of the most common retrieval methods is called testicular sperm aspiration, or TESA. During TESA, you will be given a local anesthetic. A needled will then be inserted into your testicle before sperm is aspirated out of the tissue. This procedure is typically performed on men who have undergone vasectomies.
Another retrieval procedure is called percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration, or PESA. As with TESA, during PESA you will be given a local anesthetic. An incision will be made in the testes to retrieve sperm. PESA is typically coordinated to occur on the same day as egg retrieval from the other parent.
Testicular sperm extraction or TESE is also a common retrieval procedure. During TESE, you will be lightly sedated prior to an incision being made in the testes. The sperm will be retrieved directly from the urethral tubes. As with TESA, this procedure is performed most often on men who have undergone vasectomies.
Male Sperm Retrieval Recovery
The recovery period for male sperm retrieval lasts about one week regardless of the procedure you have undergone. It is imperative that you do not drive yourself home after the operation. You will need someone to drive you home afterward.
You also will need to limit your activities for up to a week after the procedure. Your penis and scrotum will be bandaged with gauze. You will need to change the gauze periodically to prevent infection.