Typically when a male ejaculates there are sperm present in the ejaculate. However in some cases there may be no sperm in the ejaculate because the vas deferens is blocked (e.g. vasectomy) or absent (e.g. congenital absence of the vas deferens). In both of these cases sperm can be retrieved surgically from the testes for use in ICSI.
This involves inserting a very small needle into the scrotum, and removing a tiny amount of tissue that contains sperm. This procedure is quick and straightforward and usually only requires a local anaesthetic.
Open testicular biopsy
If we can’t retrieve sufficient sperm using the fine-needle aspiration technique, we can make a small incision in the scrotum, and then in one of the testes, to ensure we can locate and extract sperm for use in ICSI. This is usually performed in an operating theatre with a general anaesthetic.
If you have any questions regarding surgical sperm retrieval, you can discuss this with your GP, or with a TasIVF fertility specialist.