Male Infertility: The Effect of Chronic Reproductive Tract Obstruction

There are many factors that contribute to male infertility. Chronic reproductive tract obstruction means that sperm are not released from the body during ejaculation. This can be due to the male having a vasectomy or he may have been born without the vas deferens. Some males also develop an obstruction due to an infection, trauma, injury or surgery involving the vas deferens. There are now ways to help men with reproductive tract obstruction achieve pregnancy by sperm retrieval.

There are different procedures used for the retrieval process. The procedure used will depend on why the patients reproductive tract is obstructed. These are the various procedures used.

Micro-Surgical Epididymal Sperm Aspiration

Micro-surgical epididymal sperm aspiration is performed by making a small incision in the scrotum. The scrotum is viewed by using a microscope. Then a small tube is inserted into the epididymas. The surgeon's assistant will then gently squeeze the testicles to allow the fluid to be extracted into the tube. Once the sperm are extracted, they will be observed under a microscope to determine the sperm count and the quality of the sperm. If it is determined that the extracted sperm are good, then the scrotum is cleaned and stitched back up. If the sperm count and quality is low then more semen will be extracted before the scrotum is closed.

There is minimal down time with this procedure. The male can usually return back to normal activities within a week. This procedure is most recommended due to the fact that the doctor can remove more sperm than with any other procedure. They can even remove enough semen to freeze for a later attempt at conception.

Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration

Percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration is a less invasive and inexpensive procedure than the MESA procedure. This procedure is performed in the doctor's office under local anesthesia. A small butterfly needle attached to a syringe is inserted into the scrotum and the doctor will slowly extract the fluid from the scrotum. Then the needle is removed from the scrotum. If no semen is retrieved, then the MESA procedure will need to be performed.

Percutaneous Testicular Sperm Aspiration

The percutaneous testicular sperm aspiration is similar to the epididymal sperm aspiration. With this procedure, a long need attached to a syringe is inserted into the scrotum and the doctor then probes the needle inside the scrotum until sperm is retrieved into the syringe. This procedure is done under local or general anesthesia and requires little or no down time.


As with any surgical type of procedure there are possible risks. Since these are fairly simple procedures, the risks are minimal. Risks may include a reaction to anesthesia, bleeding and the chance of infection. Following all of your doctor's orders and recommendations can reduce your risk of developing complications after surgery.

If you are unable to conceive a child because you have a reproductive tract obstruction, there are options available to help with conceiving a child. Talk with your doctor to determine which procedure is right for you.

Have specific questions?

All Article Categories

Suggested Doctors

Recently Asked Questions