Men’s Health Services

Sperm Extractions in Greensboro, NC

What is Sperm Retrieval?

Sperm retrieval is acquiring sperm for fertility purposes. As many as 10 to 15 percent of infertile men have no sperm in their ejaculate (the fluid released from the penis during orgasm). Sperm retrieval can include several methods depending on the cause, the patient, and Dr. Luke Machen.

Dr. Luke Machen is an expertly trained urologist with extensive experience performing sperm retrieval procedures. Call 336-274-1114  to request an appointment at our men’s health clinic in Greensboro today.

When is Sperm Retrieval Performed?

Sperm retrieval is most often performed as part of fertility treatments for a couple desiring to have a baby. Dr. Machen can talk with you to help you along this journey, and to help determine the cause of your delay in conception. Sperm retrieval is done when pregnancy is the goal but not possible without help.

This procedure is often done in connection with IVF or combining an egg with the sperm for fertilization, or ICSI where a single sperm is injected directly into an egg. The sperm retrieval can often be performed the day of egg retrieval.

Most often, sperm retrieval is performed due to:

  • A blockage or obstruction in the reproductive tract
  • Problems with sperm production
  • Little or no sperm in the semen
  • Inability to ejaculate
  • Genetics or a birth defect
  • Previous surgery or health condition

Am I a Candidate for Sperm Retrieval?

To see if you are a candidate for sperm retrieval, you can talk with your provider. The way to check for sperm in the semen is to do a semen analysis. This means your provider will look at your semen under a microscope to determine the sperm levels. You may also get a blood hormone test or a genetic test to help find the cause. If there is little or no sperm in the semen, you may be a candidate for sperm retrieval.

Why Sperm Retrieval?

If you and Dr. Machen determine you are a candidate for sperm retrieval, you will discuss the best plan moving forward. Based on your semen analysis and a physical exam, you can decide which method you prefer.

Overall, the main goals of the procedure include:

  1. To obtain the best quality sperm
  2. To obtain enough sperm for immediate use and/or for freezing
  3. To minimize injury to the testicle and reproductive tract

How is Sperm Retrieval Performed?

There are several options for sperm retrieval. This may involve a simple aspiration for men who have a blockage or require much more extensive sampling of the testis for men who have a sperm production problem.

Types of Sperm Retrieval Procedures

Sperm typically passes through a duct called the epididymis and into the testicle. The type of procedure for sperm retrieval can depend on one of these two locations.


  • Testicular sperm aspiration (TESA) – A needle is inserted in the testicle and tissue and sperm are aspirated. It’s often done with a nerve block in the office or the operating room. A thin needle punctures the skin and testis to gently pull out sperm. No other cuts are needed.
  • Testicular sperm extraction (TESE) – A small incision in the testis performed in the operating room with sedation or in the office with local anesthesia.


  • Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (PESA) – For men who are having sperm retrieved for IVF/ICSI who have an obstruction from either a prior vasectomy or infection. It is done with local anesthesia in the operating room or office and is coordinated with their female partner’s egg retrieval.
  • Microepididymal Sperm Aspiration (MESA)–  Performed in the operating room with general anesthesia utilizing the operating microscope and allows for an extensive collection of mature sperm as compared to aspiration techniques.
  •  Microdissection TESE (microTESE)- Performed in the operating room with a microscope to allow for less tissue to be removed.

You and your provider can determine the best type of sperm retrieval based on your medical history, infertility plan, and overall desires. All of these procedures are routinely performed and ensure the best possible outcome for you.

Request an Appointment

If you and your partner are having trouble conceiving, it may be time to consult with a men’s health specialist like Dr. Machen. Call 336-274-1114 to request an appointment at our urology clinic in Greensboro today.