Understanding Testicular Sperm Extraction

Are you and your partner facing fertility problems? Maybe you fall into the nearly one third of infertile couples affected by male infertility. Or maybe, you had a vasectomy in the past and you’re considering vasectomy reversal.

In order for pregnancy to occur, your ejaculate must contain sperm, which are male reproductive cells. Infertility can be a result of sperm not mixing with seminal fluid, while vasectomy physically keeps sperm from exiting your body. But no matter the cause of your infertility, testicular sperm extraction could be an option for you to father a child.

Eric Seaman, MD specializes in testicular sperm extraction and sperm retrieval with microsurgery. He uses specialized instruments and a surgical microscope for enhanced precision during surgery and better outcomes for men with fertility issues.

Testicular sperm extraction is a safe, effective treatment option for male infertility, but the thought of surgery can be uncomfortable. We explain more about the reasons many men choose this procedure and what happens on the day of surgery.

Reasons to consider testicular sperm extraction

Sperm are male reproductive cells that form in your testicles. Sperm move from your testicles through tubes called the vas deferens, where they mix with seminal fluid and exit your body when you ejaculate.

If sperm can’t reach your seminal fluid, you’re considered infertile. Testicular sperm extraction is a surgical treatment for men who don’t have an adequate sperm count and are infertile.

Male infertility

An estimated 9% of men have fertility problems. There are many possible causes of male infertility, but one is that a blockage within the male reproductive system prevents sperm from reaching seminal fluid.

In these cases, it’s likely that your testicles are still producing healthy sperm, but the cells simply get trapped in your reproductive system. Testicular sperm extraction circumvents the blockage. The doctor extracts healthy sperm cells, which can be used in other fertility treatments to boost you and your partner’s chances of conception.

Vasectomy reversal

A vasectomy is a surgical procedure that’s meant to be a permanent form of birth control. During a vasectomy, the surgeon cuts your vas deferens tubes so your ejaculate no longer contains sperm, and you can’t father a child.

Although vasectomy is considered a permanent procedure, it can be reversed if you decide you want to conceive a child in the future. Vasectomy reversals are between 50-90% effective, but many men opt to get a testicular sperm extraction at the same time as their vasectomy reversal.

Having a testicular sperm extraction means that the doctor takes a sample of healthy sperm from your testicles during the same surgery in which he performs the vasectomy reversal. Choosing to do this gives you other options to have a child, such as in vitro fertilization, in the event that the vasectomy reversal isn’t effective.

What happens during testicular sperm extraction

Testicular sperm extraction is minor surgery. You’re put under general anesthesia for the procedure, but you can expect to go home the same day.

Most testicular sperm extraction procedures take between 1-2 hours, depending on the cause of your infertility and the complexity of your surgery. Dr. Seaman makes small incisions in your testicles, performing the procedure with specialized microsurgery techniques. 

Dr. Seaman accesses healthy sperm and retrieves a sample, which is then preserved or frozen for in vitro fertilization, based on your treatment plans. Your incision is closed, and our team monitors you as the anesthesia wears off.

Recovery from testicular sperm extraction may take several days to one week. You should avoid strenuous activity for 7-10 days, and you may be prescribed medication to manage pain or reduce your risk of infection. Consider wearing tight-fitting underwear or a jockstrap for additional support as your body heals. 

If you’re facing infertility or you’re rethinking your vasectomy, find out if you could benefit from testicular sperm extraction. Learn more with a comprehensive consultation with Dr. Seaman. Call our office in Millburn, New Jersey, or request an appointment through the online booking tool.

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