If sperm cannot be obtained by masturbation, it can be aspirated from the testes or epididymis (tightly coiled tubules, attached to the top of the testes).
Testicular or epididymal sperm aspiration is a technique that can be added to in vitro fertilization, oocyte donation or gestational surrogacy.
The most common conditions requiring sperm aspiration are:
- Previous vasectomy (with or without an attempt at reversal)
- Congenital absence of vas deferens (the connecting tube between testicles and penis)
- Sperm concentration and/or sperm quality so low that no normal sperm can be found in the ejaculate
Sperm Aspiration Process
Sperm aspiration is normally an uncomplicated, quick outpatient procedure requiring only a small amount of local anesthetic. It is done by a urologist that comes to NOVA so the sample can be immediately processed by the embryologist. NOVA’s embryologist will immediately assess the sperm aspirate. You will know the procedure’s outcome right away.
Once sperm have been successfully aspirated, ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) procedure is used for fertilization of eggs obtained through in vitro fertilization, oocyte donation or gestational surrogacy.
In ICSI, a single sperm is inserted into an egg under a microscope using micro-instruments.
The sperm aspiration can be scheduled for the morning of the egg retrieval procedure and the sperm is used for the ICSI that same day. The extra sperm can be frozen and used in the future so the male partner does not have to go through another procedure.
Alternatively, the sperm aspiration can be done prior to the egg retrieval. The collected sperm is frozen and stored in liquid nitrogen. The sperm sample is then thawed the morning of the egg retrieval and used for ICSI fertilization.