It is estimated that about 2 million couples each year face the problem of infertility. While assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) have helped many couples conceive, vasectomy reversal is the main option for restoring fertility for the vasectomized men. Small percentages of couples who fail in ARTs change their mind and would like to have vasectomy reversal. The common questions they ask are how the sperm retrieval techniques affect their qualification for the vasectomy reversal. This blog specifically answers this question.
ARTs requires the collection of both egg and sperm to increase the likelihood of conception. The sperm-extraction methods vary depending on the men’s fertility, the ability of the surgeon to retrieve sperm and the needs of the couple.
The five main types of sperm retrieval techniques are:
Microsurgical Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (MESA): a small incision in scrotum is made to identify the epididymal tubules, then the sperms in epididymis are aspirated with a small needle.
Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (PESA): no incision is made, and a small needle is used to aspirate sperm percutaneously.
Testicular Sperm Extraction (TeSE): a small incision in the skin of the scrotum is made to explore the testicle. Small pieces of tissue from the testicle are havested and the sperm is extracted from that tissue.
Testicular Sperm Aspiration (TeSA): no incision is made, and a needled is used to percutaneously aspirate small amount of testicular tissue, then sperm is ten retrieved from the tissue.
Testis Perc-Biopsy: a larger gauge needle is used to harvest sperms from the testicles. The process is similar to that of TeSA, but allows for the collection of a greater amount of sperms.
The men with MESA and PESA are not good candidates for vasectomy reversal since both procedures could damage the vas tubules inside epididymis, and the tubules are easily blocked by the scar.
The men with TESE, TESA and Testis Perc-Biopsy are still good candidates for vasectomy reversal since these procedures cause small damage in the testicular tissue, and the vas tubules inside epididymis usually remain intact.