How Does Testicular Sperm Extraction Work?

For those with male infertility in Portland, Oregon and other parts of the country, testicular sperm extraction may be a viable solution to retrieve sperm from the testicles for use with assisted reproductive technologies (ART) and other fertility treatments. Patients who are interested in the procedure may speak with a specialist in the field to discuss their candidacy. Candidates may include those who are unable to produce sperm through ejaculation whether through blockage in ducts that transport sperm or because of a low sperm count. 

Obstructive azoospermia is a condition in which a blockage in the duct through which sperm travels. This prevents the presence of sperm during ejaculation, leading to male infertility. Non-obstructive azoospermia is a condition in which production of sperm is affected, also resulting in the lack of sperm during ejaculation. Couples who are having trouble getting pregnant may submit themselves to fertility testing to determine if an underlying problem is causing the condition. For men, this often means a semen analysis in which sperm count—as well as other factors—is determined. If sperm count is low, further testing may be conducted to determine the cause.

Testicular sperm extraction is performed under a general anesthetic. The procedure begins with the administration of the anesthetic and then an incision in the scrotum through which the testes may be examined using a surgical microscope. The goal is to determine areas of high or low sperm count. Tissue will then be removed from the testes and the incision is closed. The patient may feel some discomfort following the procedure, and a compression bandage may be used to relieve any pressure in the scrotum. 

The samples taken during the procedure are analyzed to see if there is enough sperm, and if there is the sperm will be frozen and stored. As with any procedure, there are certain risks that patients should ask about during their consultation with a Portland fertility specialist. There is a risk of slight bleeding and mild bruising with the procedure, and nerve damage or infection are rare. Another rare complication is testicular atrophy. Patients should inquire about these or any other risks and complications associated with testicular sperm extraction to help them determine if this is a procedure they would like to pursue further.

The procedure has helped many men and couples become pregnant by using the sperm from the male partner instead of donor sperm. To some couples, this may be very important or attractive, while others will instead opt to forego the procedure and use donor sperm or turn to other services such as adoption to reach their goal of becoming parents. This is a decision that must be made by the couple with consultation from the fertility doctor. Patients should inquire about possible insurance coverage, as some plans may offer coverage, others partial coverage, and others no coverage at all. This is something that patients should work out prior to undergoing treatment.

Learn more about testicular sperm extraction in Portland, Oregon.

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