FAQ: If there is no sperm in the semen, is there a way for couples to have a child?

Yes. If there is no sperm in the semen due to an anatomic blockage (obstructive azoospermia) such as a vasectomy or a blockage where the tubes carrying the sperm enter the prostate gland, surgical reconstruction (vasectomy reversal), sperm retrieval, or unblocking the area can be offered.  In men with no sperm in the semen without a blockage (non-obstructive azoospermia), a very specialized procedure called a microdissection testicular sperm extraction (microTESE) can be offered after genetic testing is performed to give us an understanding of what the odds will be to find sperm in each individual’s testicle, when other correctable causes are not present.  In men who are candidates for microTESE, it is possible to find small pockets of sperm production within the testicle under the visualization of an operative microscope, and this sperm can be retrieved and used in combination with IVF.  The success rates of retrieving sperm using this procedure are highly dependent on the experience of the microsurgeon. Dr. Parviz Kavoussi is specialty fellowship trained in microsurgery to find such pockets of sperm production to allow these couples a chance to achieve a pregnancy with the man’s sperm and has extremely high retrieval rates.