Testicular mapping (also known as sperm mapping) is a diagnostic procedure developed to help fertility experts identify the points in the testicles where sperm is located. This can help us to find out whether a man who has no sperm in his ejaculate could still become a father through IVF/ICSI.
The most common cause of subfertility in women is a problem with ovulation – that is, the production of eggs. If there is no egg to be fertilised, then pregnancy cannot happen.
Probably the most common cause of ovulation problems, and therefore female subfertility, is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal imbalance which causes cysts to form on the ovaries, which interfere with normal ovulation.
Other causes of infertility in women include blocked fallopian tubes, problems with the womb itself and lifestyle factors including smoking, stress and being extremely over- or underweight.
All of these problems can be diagnosed by our team and a potential solution found that could enable you and your partner to conceive a child, whether that be naturally or through IUI, IVF, or ICSI.
For men whose fertility problem lies not in a blockage preventing the sperm from reaching the ejaculate, but in sperm production, testicular mapping can be a more effective – and considerably less invasive – diagnostic tool than the alternative, a biopsy. This is because, even in men with no sperm in the ejaculate, there may still be pockets of sperm within the testicular tissue. These pockets are often missed in a biopsy, which looks only at one section of tissue at a time. Although it is possible to perform more than one biopsy at a time, every extra biopsy adds further risk to the patient.
Once your testicular mapping results have come in, if sperm has been located, then you can decide on a sperm retrieval method, such as TESA, and this can then be perfectly tailored, as the surgeon knows exactly which areas of the testicles contain sperm.
Although it is important to remember that testicular mapping in itself is a diagnostic procedure, rather than a fertility treatment, it can help to make future sperm retrieval methods less time-consuming, less invasive and even less stressful as you can rest assured that there is sperm to be retrieved. Once the sperm has been removed, it can then be used for future IVF/ICSI treatment.
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