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Sperm Extraction During Vasectomy Reversal – Who Benefits?

That sounds like a good plan. Couples who are considering vasectomy reversal will come across numerous websites from all around the world. One of the appealing options that come with the procedure is sperm extraction. The idea is that if the reversal is unsuccessful, at least some sperms are extracted and stored for future use. However, this comes at a cost of around £600 (plus storage fees), which is added to your bill. But is it truly worth it?

Using the extracted sperms requires an IVF technique called ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection). One might assume that implanting the sperm into one's partner and trying to conceive via artificial insemination is a simple option. However, the reality is that the number of sperm retrieved will be too low for insemination. As a result, the extracted sperms are insufficient for conventional fertilization, and an IVF variant known as ICSI is required to improve the chances of success

Extracting sperm damages vital tubes.


This image depicts the testis and the narrow epididymis, which is located on top of the testis and is responsible for collecting and maturing sperm. The sperm goes through a process of development, starting as just a head and growing a tail over the course of two months until it becomes a fully functional swimmer. The epididymis is a fragile tube that is about 6 meters long and 0.2 millimetres in diameter. 

After vasectomy, the epididymis can become packed with dead sperm debris and active sperm, essentially acting as a reservoir. In order to extract sperm (PESA), a large bore needle is inserted through the skin and into the epididymis. This procedure can potentially cause a blockage or "blow out" in the epididymis, preventing the passage of sperm to the vas and leading to reversal failure. It is important to be aware that sperm extraction (PESA) may increase the risk of reversal failure.

So when is better to do sperm extraction?

Only when all hope of successful reversal surgery has been exhausted.  Many UK reversal doctors outside this clinic do not test the fluid in the vas for early detection of ‘blow out’ so they don’t know at the time of reversal if this blockage has occurred. Therefore sperm extraction can be done if there is a need for IVF in the event of a failed vasectomy reversal. It is also important to carefully consider whether IVF (ICSI) is the right option for you and to thoroughly research and choose the IVF clinic that best fits your needs.

Your decision is Ultimate

Of course, if you are still keen on harvesting the sperm during the reversal, unfortunately, we are not attached to a fertility clinic. We would suggest you choose another centre where this facility is available.

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