Protocol for Post-Morten Sperm Retrieval

The Urologist's Perspective

March 17, 1999 was the first time a baby was born conceived from sperm retireved post-mortem. The man was deceased for 30 hours prior to retrieval and the sperm was frozen for five years.

The recommended procedure for sperm retrieval in the post-mortem state is:

  • Absolutely sterile conditions
  • After shaving and prepping the genital area, a 3-4 cm incision is made in the scrotum, through the tunica vaginalis and the testicle is delivered (the procedure should be done bilaterally)
  • Resect the testicle and epididymis bilaterally
  • The specimen should be placed in a sterile specimen container in a solution of Ham's (if unavailable, normal saline or Ringer's lactate may suffice)
  • The tissue should be kept cool (not cold - approximately 50 - 60 degrees) and transferred to a sperm bank or ART laboratory that has experience and facilities to extract and freeze viable sperm

Time is important and the sooner the better, but on one occasion a period of approximately 40 hours between death and cryopreservation demonstrated motile sperm.

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