Surgical sperm retrieval is beneficial in some cases of Male Infertility. In some males, spermatozoa may not be present in the ejaculate. This condition is called Azoospermia. Azoospermia can either be due to defective sperm production or it can be due to obstruction to the passage of sperms from testes to penis. Obstructive Azoospermia is responsible for up to 40% cases of Male Infertility.
The obstruction can either be congenital or acquired. The common causes are
- Congenital bilateral absence of the vas deferens (CBAVD)– CBAVD is mostly a genetic condition and is caused by a mutation in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene.
- Infections– Blockage of the ejaculatory duct due to infections like tuberculosis can also result in sub-fertility.
- Iatrogenic/After vasectomy– Vasectomy performed as a family planning measure, resulting from complications of pelvic surgery or trauma will result in complete lack of transport of sperms.
As the testes are functional in such patients, sperms can be retrieved using using Surgical Sperm Retrieval techniques like PESA /TESA and these sperms can be utilised for fertilization by ICSI Treatment. These techniques along with ICSI Treatment have revolutionized the treatment of Male Infertility.
It is important to note that the sperms retrieved by these techniques cannot be used for natural conception or IUI Treatment or conventional IVF Treatment and such sperms have to be used with ICSI treatment only.
Surgical sperm retrieval is sometimes also used in some cases on Non-Obstructive azoospermia. However, the odds of finding sperms are much less than in case of obstructive azoospermia.