Surgical Sperm Collection is an operative procedure designed to collect sperm from either the epididymis (ducts located behind the testis) or directly from the testis. It is used in conjunction with in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) and intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) to give men who have no sperm in the ejaculate (azoospermia) the opportunity to father their own child.
Why Is Surgical Sperm Collection Needed?
One of the most common reasons that a man would need to undergo a SSC procedure is because he has previously had a vasectomy and now wants to have a child. Many men undergo vasectomies for fertility management when they think that their family has been completed or for some men, they chose to have a vasectomy as a way of contraception because they have made the decision that they never want to have children.
As we all know, circumstances can change and sometimes men who have had a vasectomy find that they would actually like to start or extend their family. Given that they have had the vasectomy, their options are to:
- Have a vasectomy reversal
- Undergo an SSC procedure along with IVF
- Consider using donor semen
Which method is most suitable will largely depend on how long ago the vasectomy was performed, the method used at the time, the cost of having the procedure (there are no Medicare rebates associated with vasectomy reversals and as such a patient will be out of pocket for the procedure, the hospital and the anaesthetist) and there are no guarantees of success.
Options For SSC Procedure
Up until now, men having an SSC with Fertility Solutions have only had the choice of having the procedure in a hospital day surgery setting with an anaesthetist present. For those patients who are self-insured – meaning they do not have private health insurance that will cover a hospital admission – or patients who have an excess that they need to pay before their hospital admission – this is an additional expense and financial burden when coupled with the cost of IVF treatment.
Given that a high proportion of patients today chose to be self-insured, the management team at Fertility Solutions started considering ways of making access to this treatment more affordable. The result of this team discussion was to offer SSCs under local anaesthetic on site in our Buderim clinic.
So what is the advantage to the patient?
Having the procedure at the clinic under a local anaesthetic, means that you will be saving a significant amount of money. You will not have to pay hospital day surgery fees or aneasthetic fees, which can mean you save around $1,500. There will be a small clinic procedure fee charged as well as a fee for the scientists to attend the procedure (the scientific fee applies whether the operation is performed in a hospital or in the clinic) however, choosing to have the procedure at the clinic for patients who are self-insured could mean that there is a savings of around $1,200.
It is also important to remember that irrespective of your insurance status, you can elect to have this procedure in a hospital setting under a general aneasthetic – the choice is yours.
Who Performs The SSC Procedure?
Dr. Kelvin Larwood is an Obstetrician Gynaecologist with a special interest in male infertility. He performs these procedures in conjunction with Fertility Solutions either in a hospital setting or at Fertility Solution’s Buderim clinic. Dr. Larwood is available to talk with you and your partner about your specific situation and will help guide you to a decision that is right for you.
To see Dr. Larwood, you will need a referral from your GP and then an initial appointment can be made by phoning his rooms on 07 5478 4470.