How Are Sperm Harvested?   

How Are Sperm Harvested?

The collective techniques used to harvest sperm, known as sperm aspiration, is a minimally-invasive procedure that is quite successful when performed using the appropriate methods. There are four techniques to harvest sperm:

MESA (microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration)
An optimal way of obtaining sperm in men with a reproductive tract blockage (ie, after a vasectomy, congenital absence of the vas deferens). A qualified urologist surgeon conducts the procedure under an operating microscope and the quality of sperm harvested is usually of the highest quality and quantity. It is the safest procedure and allows speedy recovery, with the least amount of complications. Most patients can get back to normal activity after a day of rest.

PESA (percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration)
A surgeon inserts a needle into the epididymis to extract sperm from pockets of sperm. It's a blind procedure as the surgeon can't see the tip of the needle. If a blood vessel is accidentally hit, it may cause haematoma. The sperm yield is also unsatisfactory. Although PESA is cheaper, it is not a highly-recommended procedure.

TESE (testicular sperm extraction)
In this open biopsy procedure, the surgeon removes a small piece of testicular tissue which is then cultured. Sperm are extracted from the cultured testicular tissue, but the amount is not as much as that obtained with MESA. Besides that, testicular sperm don't freeze and thaw as well as epididymal sperm. TESE is the second best procedure and has minimal complications.

TESA (testicular sperm aspiration)
This with non-obstructive low sperm count in semen. This is not a preferred method to extract testicular sperm due to the low yield and high risk of complications (bleeding, cutting off of testicular blood supply, etc). TESE is a more effective and potentially safer procedure to extract testicular sperm than TESA.

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