Sperm retrieval is a process that involves retrieving a man’s sperm for fertility uses. This can happen in a number of different ways, depending on the man’s health and if they have already had a procedure to stop them from reproducing.
Some men have problems with producing sperm whilst others do not have adequate sperm to fertilise an egg. This does not mean you and your partner cannot have children. Sperm retrieval is a way in which partners can have children if for any reason it is not possible through sexual intercourse.
When Might I Need Sperm Retrieval?
Sperm retrieval is recommended for couples who cannot get pregnant due to a problem with the man’s reproductive system or due to a vasectomy. Sperm can be extracted a number of ways and this will depend on the issue that is causing the sperm to not work as they should. Usually, sperm retrieval is used alongside IVF treatment, for the best chance of pregnancy to occur.
If you are worried that you are not producing enough sperm and you and your partner are struggling to get pregnant, you can speak to your doctor who may refer you to a specialist, called a urologist. Sperm can be checked under a microscope; this is called a semen analysis test. The urologist can then determine if it is your sperm that is causing the issue and you can then work out a plan to retrieve sperm for pregnancy.
Sperm Retrieval Through Ejaculation
There are different ways in which you can retrieve sperm and this all boils down to whatever the problem is, to begin with. If you can ejaculate but need help doing so, then Penile Vibratory Stimulation (PVS) or Electroejaculation (EEJ) are two methods which can be used. PVS uses a vibrator on the tip of the penis, which causes ejaculation. For those who have no feelings due to injury, EEJ can be used to stimulate ejaculation. If you do have feelings there still, you may be sedated for this procedure.
If you cannot ejaculate or these two methods do not work, the sperm may need to be retrieved directly from the testicle or the epididymis (a duct behind the testicles that allows sperm to pass through). These procedures should be done by a trusted professional to ensure that no harm is caused and that further sperm retrieval can be done so, if required.
Sperm Retrieval Through the Testis or Epididymis
There are many methods of removing the sperm from the testis and epididymis, and this depends on what your specialist thinks will work best for you and provide the highest quality and number of sperms for reproduction. Percutaneous sperm aspiration (PESA) is one of the most popular forms of sperm retrieval, as it can produce many sperm that can be frozen if required. This is also one of the lowest costing sperm retrieval methods and is done under general or local anaesthetic. This method is recommended first before surgery.
Dr Suks Minhas is an experienced sperm retrieval consultant who specialises in the percutaneous sperm aspiration (PESA) procedure and he aims to help couples who cannot have a baby through sexual intercourse. He also offers the chance to freeze sperm for later use. You can visit londonandrology.co.uk for more information on Dr Minhas and the sperm retrieval techniques used.
How Long Does It Take to Recover?
Many men are worried about the pain that they may endure during a sperm retrieval procedure. Having an idea of what to expect during and after can help put your mind at rest slightly. You will always have anesthesia during any form of sperm retrieval that may cause discomfort of pain. The length of recovery will depend on the type of sperm retrieval you go for. This can range from a couple of days to a week.
During this time, you must refrain from any strenuous activity. You will be prescribed pain medication to take whilst you are healing, which can help with some of the pain. Ice packs can be used to reduce swelling after the procedure. After some procedures, you may be started on antibiotics, as this can lower your risk of contracting an infection from your wound. Stitches will take longer to heal. There are a few possible problems that can arise from sperm retrieval, just as with any surgery, and your urologist will discuss these thoroughly before you make an informed decision.
Sperm retrieval is a fantastic way for couples who cannot reproduce to be given the chance to. The sooner you get checked if you are having worries, the sooner you can begin the process of sperm retrieval. The type of sperm retrieval you will need to have will depend on many things, and your urologist will talk through your options with you.
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