Microsurgical Sperm Extraction

Our fertility experts use advanced sperm retrieval techniques to help many men become biological fathers.

Even in cases of zero sperm count (azoospermia), you may still produce a small amount of sperm that does not make it into the ejaculate. Sperm may be physically blocked from entering the ejaculate (obstructive azoospermia). Or you may not produce enough sperm for it to leave the testicles and be detectable in semen (non-obstructive azoospermia).

In either case, our highly skilled surgeons have the expertise to extract sperm successfully. Sperm extraction rates vary, with an average success rate of 50 to 60 percent. After retrieving sperm, you can freeze it or use it for in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Types of microsurgical sperm extraction

Our surgeons perform two types of microsurgical sperm extraction to successfully retrieve sperm from men with azoospermia.

  • Microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA): If there’s a blockage in the tube where sperm collect, they can’t get into the ejaculate. In MESA, the surgeon makes a small incision through the scrotum and into the tube. The surgeon then uses a powerful microscope to find and collect sperm.
  • Microsurgical testicular sperm extraction (MicroTESE): This procedure is similar to MESA, except that we extract sperm directly from the testicles. The surgeon makes a small incision in the scrotum to access the testicles. Then we use a high-powered microscope to identify any tissue in the testicles that might contain sperm. After surgery, we analyze the tissue to find and extract available sperm to be used for IVF.

Microsurgical sperm extraction: What to expect

We understand your concerns and make sure you are informed and comfortable at every stage. We use minimally invasive techniques, which means small incisions (about 2 to 3 centimeters long) and an easier recovery. Both extraction procedures require that you be given general anesthesia so you don’t feel any pain.

The scrotum heals very quickly, so any discomfort should ease within a few days. We recommend using an icepack on your scrotum to reduce pain and swelling for the first 24 hours. You can also take over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers as needed.

Turn to Henry Ford for effective men’s health care. We take a compassionate, personalized approach to your needs and use advanced techniques to achieve your goals.

See a men’s health specialist

To make an appointment with a men’s health specialist, please call (800) 436-7936


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