TESE, or testis sperm retrieval, can find sperm in the most challenging of male infertility cases. Here are some answers to some common questions from patients of mine.
- Can I do IUI with sperm retrieved from a TESE? In general no. Not enough sperm is typically found nor does the sperm have adequate motility to be useful for IUI.
- Should a TESE be done in coordination with my IVF procedure? Answer: it depends. In cases of known blockages in the man, such as after a vasectomy, cryopreserved and thawed sperm works just as well as freshly harvested sperm. In cases where the cause of the azoospermia is unclear, I believe that fresh sperm provides the best chances for a successful outcome.
- Is TESE covered by insurance? Sometimes. The problem is that the AMA has not come up with a CPT code (billing code) for a TESE. This makes it difficult to get pe-certs from insurance carriers in many cases.
- Will sperm from a TESE be healthy? Yes. Sperm from a TESE works just fine and can fertilize eggs and create healthy embryos.
- Can you guarantee you'll find sperm? Maybe. In cases of known obstruction, the likelihood of finding sperm is 99%. In cases of testis failure, that success can be as low as 20%, but is usually in the 50% range.