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sperm retrieval

sperm retrieval & Azoospermia

If you and your partner are struggling to conceive, it can be a frustrating and challenging time.

For many couples, sperm retrieval may be a helpful option in cases where there is a blockage, or even when no sperm is found in the ejaculate.

Microscope searching for sperm during microTESE

what is sperm retrieval?

Sperm retrieval refers to the process of extracting sperm directly from the testicles or epididymis when there is no sperm present in the semen.

This may be due to factors such as a previous vasectomy, congenital absence of the vas deferens, genetic factors or certain medical treatments.

Sperm retrieval can be performed either by using small needles through the skin, for example, testicular sperm aspiration; TESA, or percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration; PESA. Sometimes, specialised microsurgical procedures are required (mTESE, MESA). Once the sperm is retrieved, it can be used with artificial reproductive techniques eg: in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

Video: What is azoospermia?

How is Sperm Retrieval done?

How is Sperm Retrieval done?

There are several types of sperm retrieval procedures, including percutaneous (via the skin) epididymal sperm aspiration (PESA), testicular sperm aspiration (TESA) and micro testicular sperm extraction (micro-TESE).

During PESA and TESA, a needle is used to extract sperm from the epididymis or testis. Micro-TESE is a more advanced technique that uses an operating microscope to locate and remove areas of the testicle with a higher concentration of sperm.

As with any medical procedure, there are risks associated with sperm retrieval, such as damage to the testicles, bleeding, or infection. However, the risks are generally low, and the benefits can be life-changing for couples struggling with infertility.

Who is Sperm Retrieval used for?

Who is Sperm Retrieval used for?

Sperm retrieval is for men with no sperm in their ejaculate and would like to have a child utilising artificial reproduction. For men who have had a vasectomy, vasectomy reversal may be an alternative to consider.

Read about Vasectomy Reversal

sperm retrieval procedures

At Restore Urology, we specialise in mTESE and other forms of sperm retrieval.


When no sperm is seen in a semen test (azoospermia), micro testicular sperm extraction (mTESE) may be the right choice. mTESE has a proven higher success rate in retrieving sperm compared to other methods (TESA/TESE). mTESE is a highly specialised procedure that uses a high-powered microscope to identify and extract sperm from the testicles and is performed by specialised microsurgeons.


MESA, on the other hand, involves making a small incision in the scrotum to directly access the epididymis for sperm retrieval. Both techniques require an experienced and skilled microsurgeon who understand male anatomy and male subfertility. At Restore Urology we have experienced microsurgeons, who are specially trained in male fertility, so are well qualified to look after you, if azoospermia is the issue.

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Talk to One of Our Urological Surgeons

If you and your partner are considering sperm retrieval, it’s important to consult with one of our urologists who specialises in male infertility. They can evaluate your specific situation and recommend the most appropriate course of treatment. With advances in technology and medical techniques, many couples are able to conceive and start a family despite previous infertility struggles.