For some men with nonobstructive azoospermia, we can restore sperm to the semen. But when that is not possible, we identify small pockets of your testicles still producing sperm—not enough to enter your reproductive tract, but still enough to help you become a biological father. That is the case even though each of your testicles may only contain a few sperm.
Sperm extraction: What to expect
The goal is to minimize risk to your testicles while still providing the best chance to find sperm. We accomplish that by routinely combining two leading technologies:
We use the recovered sperm to fertilize your partner's eggs, either through in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)—a procedure that only requires a single sperm. Our partners have world-renowned expertise in examining testicular tissue to identify sperm and using it to fertilize eggs. Extraction is also an option for men with obstructive azoospermia who wish to avoid corrective surgery—because of their higher number of sperm we offer them similar, less invasive procedures.
Azoospermia and sperm mapping
Sperm mapping provides a minimally invasive option to identify and retrieve sperm—making recovery more efficient and limiting the need to remove testicular tissue, which does not grow back. The procedure has a very low complication rate and patients recover well, usually in a few days During mapping, multiple regions of the testicle (testis) are sampled—if we find enough usable sperm for conception, we do not need to look any further. But if we do not, we move on to a sperm extraction technique called mTESE.
Sperm extraction: mTESE
During microscope-assisted testicular sperm extraction, we use a special surgical microscope to help us retrieve testicular tissue containing sperm—either from areas already identified by mapping or from areas that appear most promising. The procedure is also called microTESE or testicular microdissection. It provides the best chance at finding usable sperm in more challenging cases, while still preserving as much testicular tissue as possible. Patients receive either general or local anesthesia during the procedure.