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
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
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
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
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.