Surgical sperm retrieval (SSR) is a treatment option for men who have no sperm (azoospermia) in their ejaculate.
Reasons for performing SSR would include:
- Obstructive azoospermia – any obstruction preventing sperm release from the testicle due to previous injury or infection, or congenital absence of the vas deferens (men with Cystic Fibrosis) or Vasectomy.
- Non-obstructive azoospermia – likely testicular failure where the testicles are producing such low numbers of sperm that they are not found in the ejaculate. This could be due to genetic conditions.
- Other indications may be for men with erectile dysfunction, retrograde ejaculation and anejaculation when all other treatments have failed.
PESA (Percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration) is the collection of sperm through a fine needle directly from the epididymis (just above the testicle). It is performed for men with obstructive azoospermia.
TESE (Testicular sperm extraction) is the collection of sperm from a biopsy or several biopsies from the testicular tissue after making a small incision in the scrotal skin. It is performed for men with non-obstructive azoospermia.
SSR is a day case procedure. The material collected will be examined on the same day – or cultured in medium and processed – by the embryology team to see if there is any sperm present. Any material with sperm will be frozen (cryopreserved) and placed in storage to be used in IVF-ICSI assisted reproduction treatment cycle(s) at a later stage. These specimens are then thawed and used to inject the eggs obtained during IVF treatment using the technique of ICSI.