Azoospermia (Testicular Sperm)
Azoospermia is a condition in which there are no sperm observed in the semen. More than half of azoospermic men make sperm in the testis that are either blocked from entering the semen (obstructive azoospermia) or are too few in number to appear in the semen (non-obstructive azoospermia). When sperm are present, it is possible to establish pregnancy in the partner using several assisted reproductive methods.
Testicular biopsy is a surgical procedure in which a piece of the testicular tissue is removed. A referral to a urologic surgeon is required. When sperm are present in the biopsy they may be cryopreserved (see sperm cryopreservation (freezing)) for subsequent attempts to fertilize the partners eggs using in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Because the sperm will be few in number, eggs must be fertilized by intracytopiasmic sperm injection (ICSI). The health of children conceived with testicular sperm not different from those conceived by other assisted reproductive techniques. However, men with non-obstructive azoospermia may have a genetic cause for their very low sperm production that could be passed on to any male offspring.