If you have nerve damage or spinal cord injury that prevents you from ejaculating, an electroejaculation procedure can be used effectively to obtain sperm. This technique may also be helpful if you are unable to ejaculate for other reasons.
This technique is useful for:
- spinal cord injury
- physiological complication
- psychological/psychosexual problems
It works by electrically stimulating the nerves that control the ejaculation process using a rectal probe. The procedure can be performed under general anaesthetic as a day case procedure.
Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord Injury (SCI) often results in loss of nerve function that controls ejaculation, rendering you infertile. However, there are now treatments available that may provide a realistic chance of achieving a pregnancy with your partner. You may find that the use of a therapeutic penile vibrator (PVS) may help you to ejaculate. Alternatively, the use of electroejaculation (EEJ) under supervision of a trained specialist may provide the answer. Any sperm produced can then be frozen and stored for fertility treatment at a later date. If you are planning to start a family, it is a good idea to determine which technique is most suitable for you and to assess the quality of the sperm that you produce so that a treatment plan can be put in place for you and your partner.
Sperm Quality in Men with Spinal Cord Injury
Depending on sperm quality, it may be used with a form of artificial insemination (IUI). However, the quality of sperm from SCI patients is usually poor because of complications from the nerve damage and also prolonged periods of sexual abstinence. Furthermore, spinal cord injured patients may develop infections from catheterisation that could affect the sperm quality. However, the sperm may still be suitable for other forms of assisted conception treatment
- Even extremely poor semen samples can be used very effectively with current state-of-the-art techniques of assisted conception (ICSI)
- Only one EEJ sample may be enough for several ICSI attempts
- If no sperm are found in the ejaculate, it may be possible to surgically remove sperm from the testes which can also be used with ICSI
If you are currently planning to have a family, relationships can sometimes become strained due to the stresses arising from infertility and the treatments. You may find it helpful to talk about any concerns you may have with our Counsellor, who has many years experience in the fertility field.