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Testicular Sperm Mapping
Testicular sperm mapping is a new technical advance that can allow men with non-obstructive azoospermia to father children through assisted reproduction by showing the amount and location of sperm in the testis. Azoospermia is a cause of male infertility in which the male has no sperm count in his ejaculate.
Sperm Mapping Procedure
Sperm mapping, which is also called testicular mapping or FNA mapping, is a minimally-invasive, non-surgical procedure that can help infertile men father children. Sperm mapping is a procedure that “maps out” the location of sperm in the testis. It can also help reduce more invasive procedures like sperm retrievals that can potentially cause damage to the testis.
Sperm mapping is a non-surgical procedure that uses fine needle aspiration (FNA), which has previously been used to examine human tissue in breast cancer cases. This fine needle aspiration technique is an alternative to the testicular biopsy and can allow sampling of more places through the testis with less risk of testis damage.
The actual sperm mapping procedure is done in the office on at out-patient basis under local anesthesia, though sedatives can be given to calm the patient.
After the procedure, the small samples of tissue are analyzed for the presence and quality of sperm. Sperm mapping can determine whether there is sperm in the testis, its location, and amount. The information found during this procedure is then used for ICSI and IVF at a later date.
Benefits of Sperm Mapping
Sperm mapping can have certain benefits over the more traditional testis biopsy. Men with non-obstructive azoospermia may have sperm located only in certain parts of the tests. A testicular biopsy, or even multiple testicular biopsies, may miss the pockets of sperm that sperm mapping can identify.
Because sperm mapping allows for the most precise examination of the testis, it is helpful for men with even the severest infertility, including cancer survivors.