Sperm aspiration refers to the group of procedures used to obtain viable sperm from the male reproductive tract. The collected sperm are intended specifically for use with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). A frequently asked question is can the sperm harvested by these techniques be used for insemination? There are not enough sperm retrieved to perform intrauterine insemination (IUI) regardless of the technique used to harvest the sperm.Usually enough sperm are obtained for ICSI and freezing, but at least 5-8 million mature (passed through the epididymis) motile sperm with normal morphology are required for IUI. Sperm aspiration is reserved for men who have the most severe types of male factor infertility including no sperm in their ejaculate (azoospermia) or sperm that are not motile or are dead (necrospermia).
There are two main reasons why sperm may be absent from the semen (necessitating sperm aspiration). Obstructive azoospermia is the result of a blockage in the male reproductive tract. Sperm production in the testicle is normal but the sperm are trapped inside the epididymis. Non-obstructive azoospermia is the result of severely impaired or non-existent sperm production. It is precisely these situations that require advanced reproduction technologies such as ICSI to establish a pregnancy.
Some images related to sperm aspiration:
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Four different techniques can be used to obtain sperm and each has a different name and acronym. The procedures have clear cut advantages and drawbacks and not all are applicable to every situation. A thorough knowledge and understanding of the cause of the patient’s infertility and pathophysiology of the disease process are essential prior to recommending and performing any procedure. Sperm harvesting techniques used to obtain sperm from men with obstructive azoospermia include the following:
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