What Are the Risks Involved in Testicular Sperm Extraction?

Although testicular sperm extraction is considered minor surgery, it might not seem that way to men facing this procedure. The thought of a needle near the testicles can send some men into paroxysms of fear, but the truth is that sperm extraction is relatively painless and can be performed in a doctor’s office under local anesthesia. Developed to help men with a congenital birth defect of the absence of the vas deferens, the procedure is now used to extract sperm from men who may have obstructive azoospermia from a vasectomy, scarring or in cases of testicular failure.

A diagnosis of any of these situations used to spell disaster for couples trying to conceive a child, but now sperm extraction has given hope and success to couples struggling with fertility issues. However, as is the case with any surgeries, there are some small risks that need to be considered before deciding if this is the best option. No matter what kind of surgery is being performed, considered minor or not, there are some risks associated with it. Testicular sperm extraction is no exception. The risks of testicular sperm extraction are as follows:

Excessive Bleeding

Since most procedures are accomplished with a tiny needle or small incision, the risk for excessive bleeding is minimal. However, aspirin should not be taken within a week of surgery, or ibuprofen for three days prior.


The best way to prevent swelling from a sperm extraction is to apply ice immediately to the area. Bags of frozen vegetables are perfect for this purpose.


All surgeries run the risk of infection. Practice good personal hygiene and report any discharge, redness or excessive pain to the doctor immediately.


This is one of the most common risks of sperm extraction, but typically resolves in a few days.

Reaction to the Local Anesthesia

Some people are sensitive to the medication used in local anesthesia. Report to the doctor any incidence of rash or itching.

Not Enough Sperm Extracted

Occasionally, a sperm extraction will have to be repeated if not enough sperm are harvested.

Nerve Damage

Although this risk is very rare, there have been reports of nerve damage.

Testicular Atrophy

There have been reports of testicular atrophy after sperm extraction, however, this risk is also quite uncommon.

As with all surgery, it is important to inform the doctor of any allergies or medications, even over-the-counter medications and nutritional supplements. Good personal hygiene can reduce the incidence of infection, and the application of ice packs after the procedure can reduce swelling and bruising.

Nerve damage is possible as is testicular atrophy, or shrinkage of the testicle, although these incidences are extremely rare. The best way to avoid these two risks is to choose a specialist in sperm extraction with a proven track record and lots of experience. This is not the type of procedure you want to entrust to someone unfamiliar with the process. It’s a good idea to check a physician’s credentials thoroughly before any type of surgery.

Occasionally, sperm extraction has to be repeated because not enough tissue or sperm is recovered during the procedure. Still, for couples who have struggled with fertility issues, just the fact that any sperm can be retrieved is good news, and in all actuality, the procedure itself is fairly simple and painless.

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