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What is TESA?

Testicular sperm aspiration (TESA) is a simple male fertility procedure used to obtain sperm in men with obstructive azoospermia. Once your surgeon collects your sperm with TESA, the sperm can be used immediately for in vitro fertilization (IVF). Or the sperm can be frozen for future use. Your fertility treatment specialist will help you decide which is the best approach.

If you have obstructive azoospermia, you produce sperm at a normal rate, but a blockage prevents your sperm from reaching your semen. It commonly occurs in men who have had a vasectomy, are missing the vas deferens (the tubes that carry sperm out of the testes), or have other functional abnormalities.

Testicular Sperm Aspiration Procedure

The surgery is minimally invasive and can be done in your specialist’s office. First, your specialist gives you a sedative and uses a local anesthesia to numb your testicle and the skin around it. Your specialist then inserts a fine needle into your testicle to aspirate (suction out) your sperm through a syringe. The process takes 30 minutes or less.

You do not need special preparation for a TESA procedure. Your specialist will discuss the timing of the procedure in conjunction with the IVF cycle.

Is the TESA Procedure Painful?

Without anesthesia, you would feel some pain. However, the sedative and local anesthetic (for numbing) that your specialist provides will keep you comfortable during the procedure. If you feel sore after TESA, over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) will help. Wearing supportive underwear or a jock strap may also help.

TESA Recovery Time

You will have no incisions or stitches on your testicles or scrotum following TESA. However, you should avoid heavy lifting or strenuous exercise for about a week and wait a few days before having sex or masturbating. Generally, you will not need a follow-up appointment with your medical provider.

TESA side effects are not common, but bleeding and infection can occur. There is a small risk of damage to the testicle.

TESA Success Rates

Surgeons can almost always retrieve sperm during a TESA procedure if done for obstructive azoospermia. If your surgeon cannot collect sperm using the TESA technique, another type of sperm collection may work for you. Testicular sperm extraction (TESE) or microsurgical testicular sperm extraction (microTESE) are additional options for sperm retrieval.


Find a Fertility Specialist

Make an Appointment

Our expert physicians can help you overcome male infertility if you have obstructive azoospermia. To learn more about TESA, please call 801-587-1454 or request an appointment online. A referral from a primary care provider is not required.