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Houston Fertility Center

MESA Sperm Retrieval: Male Infertility Treatments

By Sonja Kristiansen, MD on April 29, 2016

A couple with their childInfertility challenges come in many forms and it takes a real expert to help couples and individuals face these challenges as they arise. That's why so many people put their trust in Dr. Sonja Kristiansen. A leading fertility specialist serving the people of Houston, she tailors every treatment to address the needs of her patients.

When men suffer from issues with sperm quality, sperm count, and the ability to ejaculate, sperm retrieval procedures such as MESA, PESA, TESE, and TESA can help. Let's look at these treatments broadly, with a focus on microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA).

What Is Sperm Retrieval?

Also known as sperm aspiration, sperm retrieval refers to various procedures that allow fertility specialists to collect sperm from a man directly from the testicles rather than through ejaculation. The sperm that's retrieved from the testicles can then be used in fertility procedures, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

There are many ways that sperm retrieval can be performed, including percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration (PESA), testicular sperm extraction (TESE), microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA), and testicular sperm aspiration (TESA).

Reasons for Sperm Retrieval

Sperm retrieval is typically considered when a man has issues with sperm count, sperm viability, semen composition, or ejaculation that result in poor fertility. A man may have a very small number of sperm in his ejaculate (oligospermia) or no sperm in his ejaculate at all (azoospermia). These issues may occur even though his testicles still produce sperm.

In addition to these issues with male infertility, sperm retrieval is also a good option to consider for men who have undergone a vasectomy but have decided to father a child. Sperm retrieval makes starting a family possible again without reversing the vasectomy, a process that poses its own challenges.

About Microsurgical Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (MESA)

Also known as microscopic epididymal sperm aspiration and microepididymal sperm aspiration, MESA is a common method for retrieving sperm when men suffer from vasal obstruction (obstruction of the vas deferens). Many fertility specialists feel this is a choice procedure with regard to sperm aspiration since a large amount of sperm can be taken and saved for future IVF cycles.

What to Expect During Microsurgical Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (MESA)

Performed under anesthetic with a sedative, MESA involves an incision made along the scrotum to access the testis and epididymis. Using a microscope, the fertility specialist opens an epididymal tubule, allowing sperm to be extracted directly.

You'll note that MESA is different from the percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration (PESA) technique we also covered on this blog, which uses a needle to extract sperm through the scrotum rather than an incision to expose the epididymis.

Good Candidates for Microsurgical Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (MESA)

Good candidates for MESA are men who experience issues with ejaculation, sperm count, and sperm quality as noted above. They should be in good overall health and not suffer from any health conditions that may cause a procedure such as sperm aspiration to be a health risk.

Some men may not be good candidates for MESA or PESA, and which point a fertility specialist can go over TESE, TESA, or other options to address male infertility.

Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Sonja Kristiansen

For more information about addressing male and female infertility, it's important that you contact our infertility treatment center today. Dr. Sonja Kristiansen and her team will work with you, providing your with all the answers you need to make good choices about your fertility.

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