Sperm retrieval is any way used to get sperm for fertility purposes.

There are many ways to get sperm. The method used depends on why sperm aren’t in the semen, what the patient wants, and the surgeon’s skill.

The information here should help you and your partner talk with your urologist.

When Is Sperm Retrieval Recommended?

Sperm retrieval is done when pregnancy is the goal but not possible without help. It is for men who have little or no sperm in the semen, or men who aren’t able to ejaculate. In these cases, sperm can be collected from other parts of the reproductive tract. For good pregnancy rates, sperm retrieval is used with in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the process of combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish for fertilization. This combined sperm and egg are called an embryo. The embryo is transferred to the uterus for development.

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is an IVF process where a single sperm is injected directly into an egg.

The way to check for sperm in the semen is to do a semen analysis. Your urologist will look at your semen under a microscope. No sperm in the semen (“azoospermia”) may mean sperm retrieval is needed.

The 2 main types of azoospermia are obstructive azoospermia and non-obstructive azoospermia.


Non-surgical Sperm Retrieval

If you have anejaculation or retrograde ejaculation, ejaculation can be induced. Then the semen is collected.

Two methods are:

  • Penile Vibratory Stimulation (PVS)

  • Electroejaculation (EEJ)

Testis Sperm Retrieval

There are many ways to get sperm from the reproductive tract. The goal is to get the best quality and number of sperm. Care is taken not to harm the reproductive tract. This will allow future sperm retrieval or reconstruction, if needed.

Some of these procedures are:

  • Testicular Sperm Extraction (TESE)

  • Testicular Sperm Aspiration (TESA)

  • TESA with Mapping

  • Microsurgical Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (MESA)

  • Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (PESA)

  • Microsurgical Testicular Sperm Extraction (Micro-TESE)