What is PESA (percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration)?

Category: Your Fertility
Posted 06 Jul 2017

How PESA can help your male infertility problem

To understand how PESA (percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration) works, you have to first understand the anatomy of the male testicle. The testicle is connected to a tube called the epididymis. The epididymis is then connected to the vas deferens, a duct which transports sperm to the ejaculatory ducts and the urethra.In the event of a blockage in the vas deferens, sperm is unable to be transported into the urethra, making normal conception impossible. PESA is a special minimally invasive technique that extracts the sperm from the epididymis for use in assisted reproductive technology.

Who is PESA used for?

PESA is used as part of assisted reproductive treatments for infertility. It can be used for IVF, where the extracted sperm is mixed with the wife’s egg for fertilisation to occur, or it can be used for ICSI, where a single extracted sperm is injected directly into an egg to fertillise it.This procedure  is commonly used for patients who have undergone a vasectomy. If they do not wish to undergo a vasectomy reversal, or if they have had a failed reversal, PESA is a good way to help them reproduce. A vasectomy is often completed through either the cutting of the vas deferens or creating a blockage in the vas deferens. This does not affect the epididymis, and it is possible to extract healthy sperm for artificial insemination.It is also possible to develop blockages in the vas deferens due to genetic conditions or infections to the vas deferens. In these situations, PESA can also be used to treat male infertility caused by the blockages.

How does PESA work?

During PESA, a very thin needle is inserted into the epididymis in order to extract the sperm. This procedure can be conducted in the clinic and does not require hospitalisation. The extracted sperm is then used as part of IVF treatment or in an ICSI procedure. To find out more about PESA, make an appointment with one of the fertility specialists and urologists at ACRM.
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