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Jun 19, 2014 — by Larry Lipshultz

A man smiling in his homePatients throughout the greater Houston area have been speaking with Dr. Larry Lipshultz about their options for advanced men's health treatment. A skilled urologist, Dr. Lipshultz is well-versed in numerous men's health concerns, especially those related to male fertility and infertility. We've covered various vasectomy reversal surgery topics on this blog, revealing that vasectomy reversal is quite successful, particualrly when performed within three years of the initial vasectomy.

We'd like to turn our attention to another matter regarding male fertility: testicular sperm extraction (TESE).

About Testicular Sperm Extraction (TESE)

TESE is a process in which a small amount of a man's testicle tissue is removed in order to extract viable sperm cells to fertilize an egg. Doing this will allow a man to father his own child when traditional methods of conception have failed. This allows men to avoid the use of a sperm donor at a fertility clinic and possibly even the need to undergo vasectomy reversal surgery.

The sperm cells that are extracted through this method will be immature and unable to fertilize an egg through natural means. Because of this, a process known as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is used. This means the injection of the sperm cell directly into the egg to ensure proper insemination and fertilization.

Treating Obstructive and Non-Obstructive Azoospermia

TESE is used to address both obstructive azoospermia and non-obstructive azoospermia.

  • Obstructive Azoospermia - Obstructive azoospermia occurs when there is a blockage formed in the vas deferens, the tubes that carry sperm into the testicles. This may be congenital or the result of a vasectomy.
  • Non-Obstructive Azoospermia - Non-obstructive azoospermia refers to cases in which a man's semen contains little to no sperm due to a lack of sperm production.

Other Concerns for Testicular Sperm Extraction (TESE) Candidacy

Candidates for TESE should be in good general health and have realistic expectations about the procedure, what it entails, and the potential side effects and risks as they recover.

How successful is testicular sperm extraction (TESE)?

Studies have found TESE to be quite successful in general, though it really depends on if the patient suffers from obstructive azoospermia or non-obstructive azoospermia.

For men who suffer from obstructive azoospermia, sperm retrieval techniques in general can be successful roughly 90% of the time since their sperm production is normal. For men who suffer from non-obstructive azoospermia, the success rates are much lower, sometimes just between 20% to 45%. These matters will be discussed with you during the consultation process.

The Testicular Sperm Extraction (TESE) Procedure

During TESE, a very fine needle is carefully inserted into the testicle in order to remove a tissue sample. This tissue is examined under a microscope and viable sperm are retrieved for use in ICSI to fertilize an egg. If no sperm is found in this initial sample, the surgeon can make a small incision in the scrotum and remove more testicle tissue as needed.

Patients will generally experience soreness and discomfort in the testicles and groin for a day or two, more if needle extraction is unsuccessful and an incision needs to be made.

Learn More About Men's Health Treatments

For more information about all of your options with regard to fertility and sperm extraction, it's important that you contact our men's health and urology clinic today to schedule a consultation. When you meet with Dr. Larry Lipshultz, you will be able to learn more about all of your options for care and what they entail.