Surgical Sperm Recovery


Surgical sperm recovery, as the title suggests, is the surgical recovery of sperm from the epididymis or testis.

Surgical sperm recovery techniques are usually a very successful, minimally invasive procedures that allow even men who make very few sperm to conceive a child of their own.

When May Surgical Sperm Recovery Be Used?

  1. Where there is an absence of the vas deferens (the tubes that carry sperm out of the testes).
  2. Where sperm release is obstructed (obstructive azoospermia).
  3. Where the testicles produce such low numbers of sperm that they don't reach the vas deferens, or no sperm (non-obstructive azoospermia).
  4. After a vasectomy.
  5. Before or after chemotherapy or radio therapy.

Surgical Sperm Recovery Procedures Performed At Flinders Fertility

Surgical sperm recovery procedures are usually done as a day-case procedure under general anaesthetic.

Sperm collected through a surgical sperm recovery procedure are intended to be used with Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI).

Procedures performed at Flinders Fertility for males include:

  1. Testicular sperm aspiration (TESA) - Testicular sperm aspiration is used to obtain viable sperm from a testicle. A small incision is made in the scrotal skin and then a spring loaded needle is gently inserted into the testicle.
  2. Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (PESA) - Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration involves a fine needle being passed into the epididymis to extract fluid. This is then checked in the laboratory by the embryologist for the presence of sperm.
  3. Testicular Sperm Extraction (TESE) - Testicular Sperm Extractioninvolves a small incision being made in the testis and a small sample of testicular tissue is excised. This is then checked in the laboratory by the embryologist for the presence of sperm.
  4. Microsurgical sperm retrieval - Microsurgical sperm retrieval is the optimal way of obtaining sperm in those men with a reproductive tract blockage (after a vasectomy, congenital absence of the vas deferens). The epididymis (organ above the testicle where the sperm are stored) is isolated through an incision made in the scrotal skin. An operating microscope is used to examine the very small tubules of the epididymis that contain the sperm. A dilated tubule is opened and the fluid is collected and examined for the presence and quality of sperm. All of the sperm containing fluid is collected and taken to the Flinders Fertility laboratories for processing, use and freezing. If the fluid is devoid of sperm or only dead sperm are found, then another area of the epididymis is sampled. This is done until enough sperm are obtained to use and to store for future use. The sperm that are collected are intended to be used with Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI).

What Are The Possible Risks Of Surgical Sperm Recovery?

  1. Bruising and tenderness of the scrotum for 1 to 2 days after the procedure. Where an incision was necessary the stitches self-dissolve in 10 - 14 days.
  2. Mild discomfort or aching.
  3. Infection. All surgical procedures can cause infections.
  4. A failure to collect sperm.

Fee Concessions

The various fees involved with surgical sperm recovery can be high. Thankfully, at Flinders Fertility patients will either be bulk billed or receive generous fee concessions.

Please see our General Fees page for futher information.

Find Out More

At Flinders Fertility we recognise that a website may not cover all your information requirements. That's why we offer a number of information options. So, if you want to find out more about surgical sperm recovery, either:

  1. Call on 131 IVF (131 483) to talk to one of our Fertility Specialists.
  2. Email us at
  3. Seek a referral to Flinders Fertility from your Doctor.

If you require the aid of an interpreter please let us know, as well as any specific regional dialect that you may require.

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