Whether you and your partner have decided to try IUI or IVF, a semen sample is always almost always required in order to fertilize the egg. For most men, this isn’t a problem. However, some men are not able to produce a semen sample but would still like to have a biological child. In these instances, rectal electroejaculation may be beneficial.
What is Electroejaculation?
Electroejaculation (EEJ), or rectal electroejaculation (REE), is a type of fertility treatment that can help retrieve sperm from men who otherwise have difficulties producing ejaculate, usually due to neurological problems.
Electroejaculation is a fairly simple procedure that uses a rectal probe to induce an erection and cause a man to ejaculate. This ejaculate is collected and prepared for use, usually in artificial insemination although it can also be used in IVF.
Who is Rectal Electroejaculation For?
This type of fertility treatment is not a common, first-line therapy for use in all men. Generally, it is reserved for men that have a high sperm count but, for one reason or another, fail to ejaculate. It is also treated as a final option when all other possible forms of treatment have been explored.
Common candidates for this type of procedure include men who have some type of neurological dysfunction that prevents them from ejaculating. This can include men with spinal cord injuries, who often have a hard time achieving and maintaining an erection as well as ejaculating.
Without assistance, only about 5% of men with spinal cord injuries are able to conceive naturally. Through electroejaculation, though, these men are able to have an erection and produce enough ejaculate to help their partner conceive through ART.
Men with multiple sclerosis often have fertility problems as the disease can interfere with nerve reception in the body as well as inhibiting movement. In these instances, rectal electroejaculation may be suitable.
Additionally, some diabetic men may require electroejaculation in order to fertilize their partner’s egg. Because diabetes can cause nerve damage as well as circulation problems, men with diabetes will often suffer from some type of sexual dysfunction. Usually, insulin-dependant diabetics are thought to be best suited to rectal electroejaculation.
Other men suited to this type of treatment include men who have had their testis removed (orchiectomy) as well as men who have had retoperitoneal lymph nod dissection (RPLND).