Microsurgical Testicular Sperm Extraction (Micro-TESE)
Advances in reproductive medicine over the last 10 years have allowed men who were previously considered absolutely sterile to father biological children.
Those advances have come on two fronts. The first was the advent of In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) with Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI).
This technological breakthrough reduced the requirement of the number of sperm needed to fertilize an egg from millions to just one sperm per egg. It meant that men with very low sperm counts who could not be improved with other means had a new way of effectively conceiving. It also led us to reexamine our understanding how the testicles function.
It turns out that men who have no sperm in the ejaculate because of problems with sperm production, a condition called Non-Obstructive Azoospermia (NOA), actually may have small pockets of sperm production within the testicle. In fact, greater than 60% of men with NOA actually do produce small amounts of sperm inside the testicle that can be used with IVF/ICSI to create a baby.
Sounds like great news all around, right? Well, the challenge for experts has been to develop techniques that improve the chances of finding sperm inside the testicle and then to create effective strategies to best harvest that sperm IN THE SAME PROCEDURE, for use with IVF.