If you have discovered that you have no sperm in your ejaculate, it may still be possible to find small numbers of sperm in the testes.
In the past, if no sperm could be found in your semen, you were labelled as sterile, and the only chance for having a child was to use donor sperm. However, advanced methods of assisted reproduction have completely revolutionized the treatment of male factor infertility. The introduction of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) has made it possible for men to achieve pregnancy with less than 10 available sperm, compared with millions present in a fertile man, and you still don’t have to have any in your semen!
What are the causes of no sperm in the ejaculate?
This may be caused by a blockage in the reproductive system known as obstructive azoospermia, and may be corrected with surgery. However, if surgery fails, or in cases where there is no obstruction (non-obstructive azoospermia), sperm may be found by performing a surgical testicular sperm retrieval (TESE).
Surgical sperm retrieval may be arranged on the day of your partner’s egg collection so that ICSI can be performed using the freshly collected sperm. Alternatively, sperm retrieval may be performed in advance of fertility treatment and the sperm frozen for use at a later date.
Surgical sperm retrieval in advance has several advantages:
• if you wish to postpone fatherhood
• it will prevent your partner from having to undergo all of the preparation required for ICSI treatment, such as ovarian stimulation and egg collection, if no sperm can be found
• it permits better planning on the day of egg collection and ICSI
• it gives you time to think about the possibility of using donor sperm if no sperm are found during surgery
• fertilisation and pregnancy rates using frozen–thawed sperm are similar to those using fresh collected material and avoids repeated surgical procedures
If you would like to talk to us about this procedure, please feel free to contact us.