When infertile couples try to conceive without success, they may discover the male is suffering from azoospermia. Azoospermia – when there is no measurable amount of sperm in the ejaculate – affects a notable percentage of men and exists in two main forms, obstructive and non-obstructive azoospermia. For men and couples suffering from male factor infertility due to azoospermia, sperm retrieval with ICSI with IVF is the most effective form of treatment.
Obstructive azoospermia occurs when men are born without a vas deferens, which he typically does not catch until trying to get pregnant. Because the man never developed a vas as he grew in his mother’s womb, there is no vas deferens to reconstruct when seeking treatment for obstructive azoospermia. If a man with obstructive azoospermia is seeking treatment that will allow the use of his sperm during an IVF procedure, sperm retrieval from the epididymis (ICSI) is required. ICSI is a highly accurate procedure which can retrieve viable sperm for use during IVF.
Non-obstructive azoospermia is diagnosed in men who appear to have no sperm production at all in the testes; however, this is hardly ever the case. Unless the man is completely sterile, there is usually a small amount of sperm that, although doesn’t appear in the ejaculate, can be retrieved using ICSI.