If you are unable to produce sperm then BCRM may recommend Surgical Sperm Retrieval (SSR). SRR is a procedure to remove sperm directly from:
- The epididymis known as percutaenous surgical sperm aspiration – PESA
- The testicles known as testicular sperm extraction – TESE
You may be unable to produce sperm because:
- You have undergone a vasectomy
- You do not ejaculate sperm
- You have extremely low sperm production
With Surgical Sperm Retrieval (SSR) blockages are bypassed by collecting the sperm with a fine needle from the narrow tubes (the epididymis) on the surface of the testis.
In cases where not enough sperm is being produced in the first place, sperm can be obtained from tissue samples (biopsies), taken from inside the testes itself.
In some instances, severe sperm disorder or blockage of sperm release can be due to a genetic abnormality which may carry a risk for the baby. Couples may therefore need some additional blood tests and advice before ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) treatment is considered.
Steps to Surgical Sperm Recovery
1. Specialist Consultation
If it is deemed clinically appropriate for you to undergo an SSR, you will first need to see a male factor fertility specialist. At this consultation you will have a testicular ultrasound and physical examination.
2. Further Testing
Your consultant will likely refer you for additional hormone and genetic blood tests. Your consultant will review the results and will confirm if you are a suitable candidate for SSR.
3. Scheduling your SSR
Once you have been signed off for the procedure, our SSR coordinator will be in touch to arrange your next steps and provide a date for the retrieval.
The sperm will be collected from the narrow tubes (the epididymis) on the surface of the testis with a fine needle (PESA). If we are unable to collect any sperm using PESA, we will attempt obtain tissue samples (biopsies) from inside the testes (TESE).
5. Follow Up Consultation
You will have a follow up consultation with a male factor specialists to discuss the outcome of your SSR and ensure you are recovering well. Next steps in your fertility journey will also be discussed.