Male infertility affects millions of couples worldwide, posing a significant challenge to achieving parenthood. For men with severely impaired sperm production or the absence of sperm in their ejaculate, a specialized surgical procedure called Microscopic Testicular Sperm Extraction (MicroTESE) offers hope. In this blog, we will explore the ins and outs of microTESE, its benefits, the procedure itself, and its role in assisted reproductive technologies.
Male infertility can arise from various factors, including hormonal imbalances, genetic disorders, testicular damage, or unknown causes. In cases of non-obstructive azoospermia, where sperm production is impaired or absent, alternative methods are required to retrieve viable sperm for fertility treatments. This is where microTESE comes into play.
MicroTESE or Microscopic Testicular Sperm Extraction, is a surgical procedure designed to locate and extract sperm directly from the testicles. Unlike other methods such as Testicular Sperm Extraction (TESE), microTESE employs an operating microscope to achieve greater precision and success rates. By targeting specific areas within the testicular tissue, microTESE maximizes the chances of finding viable sperm while minimizing tissue removal.
A skilled urologist or reproductive surgeon performs microTESE in a hospital or fertility clinic setting. This begins with local or general anesthesia to ensure patient comfort. A small incision is made in the scrotum, and the surgeon uses a high-powered microscope to carefully examine the testicular tissue. By identifying potential sperm-containing tubules, small tissue samples are extracted for further laboratory examination.
The tissue samples obtained during microTESE are sent to an embryology laboratory for meticulous examination under high magnification. Embryologists search for viable sperm within the samples, selecting those with optimal motility and morphology. Once retrieved, the sperm can be used in various assisted reproductive technologies, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
MicroTESE offers several advantages over other sperm retrieval methods. By targeting specific areas of the testicular tissue, it increases the likelihood of finding viable sperm while minimising unnecessary tissue removal. This precision reduces the risk of damage to blood vessels, nerves, and the surrounding tissue. Additionally, microTESE is less invasive and has higher success rates compared to traditional TESE.
The success of microTESE depends on various factors, including the expertise of the surgical team and the underlying cause of male infertility. Success rates can vary, but generally range from 40% to 70% for finding viable sperm. However, it is essential to recognize that microTESE is not always successful, and in some cases, no sperm may be found. It is crucial for couples to discuss expectations and potential outcomes with their healthcare provider.
Microscopic Testicular Sperm Extraction (MicroTESE) offers a microscopic solution to male infertility by providing a targeted approach to sperm retrieval. This specialized surgical procedure has revolutionized the treatment options for men with severely impaired sperm production or no sperm in their ejaculate. With its high success rates and minimally invasive nature, microTESE provides hope and opens doors for couples struggling to conceive. Consulting with a fertility specialist can help determine if microTESE is the right path to pursue on the journey towards parenthood.