Center For Reproductive Medicine

In the normal situation sperm are produced in the testes and then pass through a series of tubules called the epididymis where they collect and are concentrated before ejaculation. As they travel to this point the sperm mature and gain their ability to swim and fertilise an egg.

Answering Clinical Questions Improves Patient Safety

  • Why is sperm recovery necessary?

    Some men are able to produce sperm in their testicles but for a number of reasons these sperm are notpresent in the ejaculate. This may be because a blockage is stopping the sperm from passing through the tubules. It may also be because sperm are produced in such low numbers in the testes that they are lost within the tubules before they are ejaculated. A blockage in the tubules may have been caused naturally or may have been surgically, e.g., vasectomy.

    For these men sperm can be recovered from the tubules behind the blockage or from the testes themselves.

  • Are recovered sperm normal?

    Sperm recovered from the epididymis will be very similar to those that are ejaculated, except that they will be immature and therefore unlikely to be able to fertilise an egg at IVF. Sperm recovered from the testes will be even less mature than those recovered from the epididymis and so will also not be capable of fertilising an egg at IVF.

  • What is the best way to use these sperm for treatment?

    Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) offers the best chance of gaining fertilisation with these immature sperm. Please see the relevant ICSI information sheets.

  • How will I know if I need sperm recovery?

    A semen analysis showing the presence of no sperm at all (Azoospermia) will indicate that further tests should be carried out to determine whether sperm recovery is an option. These tests will include a blood test to check your hormone levels, an examination of your testes and a blood test to see if you have any genetic problems. If these tests are inconclusive you may also require a testicular biopsy which would determine whether sperm production is occurring in your testes.

  • How do I Prepare for the operation?

    You will be asked to shave your testicles the night before the operation. You will also need to not eat anything from midnight and drink anything from 7 am on the day the operation.

  • What anaesthetic?

    For PESA and TESA you will be given a local anesthetic and sedation during the procedure. For TESE a general anaesthetic is required.

    Recovering after the operation.

    If you have had a local anaesthetic with sedation you will be allowed home a couple of hours after the operation. You will not be allowed to drive or work for 24 hours, so you will need to arrange transport home after the operatin. You may have some bruising, minor swelling and discomfort for a few days after the operation.

  • Is there anything at all you can not do?

    1. The stimulated cycle is very carefully monitored. However in any cycle there is a small risk of hyper stimulation, which may result in an enlargement of the ovaries. In this event, conservative treatment usually results in total resolution of the cysts.
    2. Chances of multiple pregnancies are 30%, hence once should be prepared to accept twins and triplets.
    3. Pregnancies following IVF-ET have higher miscarriage rate than normal.

  • When will the recovery occur in relation to the ICSI cycle?

    Is there anything at all you can not do?

    Talent does what it can; genius does what it must.


    Is there anything at all you can not do?

    Talent does what it can; genius does what it must.


    Is there anything at all you can not do?

    Talent does what it can; genius does what it must.


    Is there anything at all you can not do?

    Talent does what it can; genius does what it must.

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