Men who lack sperm in their ejaculate frequently have at least some sperm in their testicles, where sperm are made. Testicular sperm can fertilize eggs if they are injected directly into eggs obtained for in vitro fertilization (IVF) through a process called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). ICSI (Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection) refers to the injection of a single sperm into the egg as a means of facilitating fertilization. ICSI became a clinical tool about 1992 , and its use revolutionized the treatment of male infertility. Because of its effectiveness in helping infertile couples become pregnant, ICSI might be considered the second most important advance in infertility care.
IVF treatments alone do not correct the problem when men have defective sperm. ICSI is often used when male infertility conditions such as poor sperm quality or a low sperm count prevent fertilization, or when previous attempts at IVF fertilization have failed.
While the ejaculate normally contains 100 to 300 million sperm, aspiration of as few as 100 to 200 sperm by Non-surgical Sperm Aspiration (NSA) has been shown to be enough to achieve pregnancy.
Before the development of NSA, men with no sperm in their ejaculate had to undergo surgery to remove sperm either from their testes or from the tubes connected to the testes (vas deferens or epididymis). The operation required a hospital stay and lengthy recuperation.
Non-surgical sperm aspiration is quick procedure, and is performed right at our center. The process does not require hospitalization, is painless when done under sedation, and recovery is virtually immediate. A tiny needle is used to extract sperm directly from the testis or the epididymis (part of the ducts just outside of the testicle).