In most cases where infertility issues in couples are traced back to male factor infertility, one of the methods used to resolve the problem is TESA, or Testicular Sperm Aspiration. The TESA procedure is the latest sperm retrieval technique where sperm is directly retrieved from a man’s testis or epididymis. TESA is a part of low sperm count treatment. This surgical procedure helps men suffering from Azoospermia, a condition where a man’s ejaculate lacks sperm. It could be due to reproductive tract blockage, hormonal issues, ejaculation problems, or structural or functional issues with the testicular structure.
The TESA procedure involves the use of anaesthesia, which often makes couples hesitant of going ahead with it. However, you must know that TESA is a simple and safe procedure that causes only mild discomfort to the hopeful father. Here’s all you need to know about the TESA procedure.
How is the TESA procedure carried out?
TESA allows azoospermic men to have biological children by enabling the extraction of their sperm. The inadequacy of sperm prevents the proper fertilisation of eggs, causing infertility among the couple.
TESA may be recommended if male factor infertility is determined to be the cause of the couple’s inability to conceive and the inadequacy of sperm is the root cause.
This is how the TESA procedure is carried out:
- You are given either local or mild general anaesthesia.
- Then, a needle is inserted directly into the testicle through the skin of the scrotum.
- Testicular tissue and sperm are suctioned out or aspirated using the needle.
Once the sample is collected from your testicles, it is sent to the lab, where sperm cells are analysed and segregated for use in further procedures such as ICSI, where sperm cells are directly injected into mature eggs for fertilisation. TESA is a safe and simple low sperm count treatment.
As with any minor surgery, the TESA procedure too has its share of dos and don’ts after the procedure. One of the biggest concerns that most couples have with this is whether it is painful. Since this is done under anaesthesia, you do not feel any pain at all during the procedure, which usually lasts for just about 10-20 minutes.
Side effects of TESA
All surgical procedures—major or minor—cause some mild discomfort at the surgery site. This is expected and normal. You can expect the same with TESA. Severe pain or extreme discomfort is not at all likely. Mostly, it feels like a deep pinprick. It is a day procedure and does not require hospitalisation. Since there is no incision or suture, the risk of postoperative complication is minimal with the TESA procedure.
To address the mild pain and discomfort post the procedure, the doctor prescribes pain medication for a few days. Although no serious side effects are expected, you may still take a few precautions to ensure you make a full recovery with zero risks. The precautions include:
- Avoiding lifting heavy weights for a week
- Skipping strenuous exercises for a week
- Avoiding intercourse or masturbation for the same period
Some men experience side effects such as nausea and vomiting due to the use of anaesthesia. These problems usually fade away on their own after about 8 hours. Until then, getting some rest and staying hydrated will help with these symptoms.
The TESA procedure involves some mild discomfort. However, the procedure offers you an excellent chance to father biological children, which may be otherwise impossible due to male factor infertility. There is no special preparation needed for the procedure, which again makes it a very viable low sperm count treatment.