• What Is Sperm Aspiration?
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Assisted Reproductive Technology
|Terminology: Also called non-surgical sperm aspiration (NSA).
What Is Sperm Aspiration?
Sperm aspiration refers to a group of procedures used to extract usable sperm from a man's reproductive area. The sperm is extracted by injection. It is then injected using ICSI procedure (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) into his partner's egg in a laboratory. The resulting embryo is implanted in the woman with the hope it will develop into a successful pregnancy. This procedure is reserved for men suffering from severe male infertility, where they are literally 'firing blanks'.
Sperm aspiration allows men with severe fertility issues to father children. If no sperm can be found in the semen on ejaculation (technically known as azoospermia), sperm can be extracted directly from the testes. The testes are another name for balls or testicles. There are two main reasons why there may be no sperm in the semen. One is due to a blockage in the reproductive tract (obstructive azoospermia). The other is because sperm are trapped inside the epididymis (a little organ that sits on top of the testicle), even though sperm production in the testes might be normal.
No. The collected sperm cannot be used for artificial insemination (also known as intrauterine insemination or IUI). The reason being not enough sperm is retrieved by aspiration for artificial insemination to work. At least 5 to 8 million motile sperm (sperm that can swim) with normal morphology (shape) are required for artificial insemination. The sperm are injected into the womb with the hope that one will find the egg and fertilize it. Far fewer sperm are required for ICSI to be successful because the sperm is injected directly into the egg.
There are 4 different methods of sperm aspiration. Each procedure has its pros and cons and not all are options are suitable for every patient. A fertility doctor will need to carry out fertility tests to gain a thorough knowledge of the cause of infertility, before recommending a method. See also, causes of infertility in men.
The 4 methods are:-
MESA (Microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration)
PESA (Percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration)
TESE (Testicular sperm extraction)
TESA (Testicular sperm aspiration)
Vasectomy is a semi-permanent form of male contraception. The reproductive tract is cut and tied or sealed so that sperm cannot enter ejaculation fluid (semen). For a long time it was considered a permanent form of male contraception, but advances in microsurgery have led to the development of a vasectomy reversal procedure. This operation lasts 3 to 6 hours and costs about $15,000. Sperm aspiration is an alternative to vasectomy reversal (not only is it cheaper, but it is far less painful). See also sperm banks for preserving fertility before vasectomy.
Sperm aspiration costs about $2,500. Sperm banking (freezing and storing sperm) which is normally done with the procedure is another $400. Additionally, the ICSI procedure, needed to inject the sperm into an egg, is a further $1,900. Sperm aspiration does not need to be repeated for different IVF cycles if enough sperm is banked.
Using Testicular Sperm
|Related Articles on ART Procedures
For more information, see the following:
• Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis: Testing for birth defects.
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