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Dr. Philip Werthman | Center for Male Reproductive Medicine & Vasectomy Reversal

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Why is Testicular Mapping
(Sperm Mapping) Dangerous?

What is Testicular Mapping? – Making an Informed Decision

Testicular Mapping is a technique used in an attempt to find sperm in the testicles of men with a condition known as Non-Obstructive Azoospermia (NOA). Men considering undergoing testicular mapping need to STOP and understand the procedure and the alternatives before wasting their time and money.

While it may be marketed as an innovative concept in male infertility treatment, testicular mapping is anything but. In reality, it is a purely diagnostic procedure meaning no sperm can be retrieved to use later on to make a baby. Men who have sperm found with this type of procedure must undergo a second operation (TESE or MicroTESE) to actually retrieve and use the healthy sperm that is found. Additionally, men must wait six months to recover from a testicular mapping procedure before they can undergo the procedure that retrieves the sperm for use. This unnecessarily delays IVF cycles and precious time that many couples simply don’t have to waste.

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Vasectomy Reversal Surgery

Male Infertility Azoospermia

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With more than 20,000 procedures successfully resulting in pregnancies, it is no wonder that Dr. Werthman is the male fertility doctor most frequently recommended by his colleagues, most consulted by the media, and most appreciated by his patients.


Azoospermia is the condition where no sperm are present in the semen (ejaculatory fluid). It affects about 1 % of all men. For two main reasons sperm can be absent from the semen. The first is a condition called Obstructive Azoospermia (OA). OA is caused by a blockage.

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Sperm Mapping

Simply a variation on the Testicular Fine Needle Aspiration Technique TEFNA procedures of reproductive medicine’s early days, the sperm mapping technique involves the drawing of a 9-12 sectioned “grid” over the testicle and the blind insertion of a needle into each area.

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Sperm Aspiration

Micro-TESE is a sperm harvesting technique. The term sperm aspiration means any surgical procedure performed for obtaining viable sperm for use in fertility procedures. Sperm retrieval techniques are typically performed on men who do not have sperm present in the ejaculatory fluid or who are unable to ejaculate.

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10 Things to Know about Testicular Mapping

  • Testicular mapping is a purely diagnostic procedure – no sperm can be retrieved for later use in making a baby.
  • Men must wait 6 months to recover from a testicular mapping procedure before undergoing a second procedure to retrieve sperm for use.
  • Testicular mapping is expensive – averaging $7500 plus the cost of a later procedure for sperm retrieval if usable sperm is found.
  • Testicular mapping provides limited information. It can only tell where sperm is located in the testicle. It is not possible to assess the quality of sperm or to tell whether they are alive.
  • Up to 70% of men with NOA have sperm production in the testicle – making mapping unnecessary.
  • Today’s male fertility experts recommend men with NOA no longer have a diagnostic procedure to tell if sperm are present prior to a procedure to actually harvest the usable sperm.
  • Very few doctors still recommend or perform testicular mapping.
  • Microsurgical Testicular Sperm Extraction (microTESE) is the best procedure for men with NOA
  • Testicular mapping requires double the surgery, risk, money, recovery time and time off work than MicroTESE.
  • Testicular mapping no longer has a role in the treatment of men with NOA.

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