• * The center of assisted medical procreation of the CHU St Pierre is specialised in reproductive medicine. Reference center: quality label ISO 9001 obtained in 2008 and accredited by the AFMPS (Agence Fédérale des Médicaments et Produits de Santé).

Sperm collection

In AR, sperm is collected through masturbation 97% of the time. In the remaining 3% of cases, it is surgically retrieved.


Collection through masturbation

The fresh sperm sample is obtained through masturbation after 3 to 5 days of sexual abstinence. This takes place on the same day as the partner’s oocyte retrieval.

The ejaculate is collected directly in a sterile container available from the andrology laboratory, from the nursing staff or the pharmacist. 

It is also possible to produce a sample at home. It must be brought to the nursing staff within the hour and must be maintained at body temperature.


If it is impossible to provide a sample through masturbation, it is possible to use a condom specially adapted to IVF treatment. In this case, once the sample has been collected after sexual intercourse, the contents of the condom must be emptied into a sterile container.

Condoms available from the chemist’s must not be used under any circumstances.


It is important that all the ejaculate is collected. However, if this isn’t the case, no attempt should be made to collect any that has escaped. The result of the analysis or the treatment could be affected.

When it is impossible to collect the sperm through masturbation (often as a result of azoospermia = lack of sperm), a surgical technique can be used.


Surgical sperm collection is either done through:

PESA (Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration) or TESA (TEsticular Sperm Aspiration) 

This involves percutaneous testicular or epididymal sperm retrieval with a fine needle under local anaesthetic. 

In 80 to 90 % of cases, sperm is found in cases of obstructive azoospermia (blocked ductal system, infections, vasectomy, etc.).  


TESE (TEsticular Sperm Extraction), or testicular biopsy, requires the testicle to be surgically opened under general anaesthetic. 

In cases of secretory (or non-obstructive) azoospermia, the chance of finding sperm is approximately 50%. 


Both are day-case procedures.

In general, in cases of obstructive azoospermia, PESA is carried out on the same day as the partner’s oocyte retrieval since there is a high probability of finding sperm.

In cases of secretory azoospermia, TESA or TESE will be carried out either outside the partner’s treatment or on the day before oocyte retrieval. This allows the sperm to finish maturing in the laboratory. This also prevents unnecessary oocyte retrieval in case of so-called “blank” testicular biopsies (no sperm found).  


Complications during these surgical procedures are infrequent and curable: haematoma, infections (epididymitis or orchitis) or testicular torsion.




Plan du site CHU Saint Pierre - Bâtiment 200, 5è étage . Département de Gynécologie-Obstétrique

Centre de Fécondation In vitro - 322, Rue Haute - Bruxelles Tel +32(0)2 535 3406 Fax +32(0)2 535 3409