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PESA and TESE are surgical procedures which are used to extract sperm when the male partner has no sperm present in the ejaculate.

They are minimally invasive techniques and sperm can be obtained from men with a variety of issues including vasectomy, failed vasectomy reversal, an absence of the vas deferens, blockages anywhere along the seminal tract (obstructive azoospermia) or any problem arising from injury or infection. Sperm retrieval is also able to help men with a very low sperm count (non-obstructive azoospermia) become fathers.

Until the early 1990s, couples faced with these issues would have had no hope of having children using both of their genes. The advent of ICSI, where a single sperm is injected into each female egg, has changed that, allowing even a few retrieved sperm to be adequate for fertilisation.

PESA and TESE procedures do not require an overnight stay. The procedures normally take less than one hour using local anaesthetic and/or IV sedation. Patients can leave after a recovery period and disruption of normal activities is limited.

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