Frozen sperm from azoospermic men as viable as fresh

August 9, 2013

Testicular sperm extraction of frozen sperm taken by biopsy in azoospermic men is as effective as fresh sperm taken by biopsy in helping couples conceive through in vitro fertilization (IVF), according to a study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Testicular sperm extraction of frozen sperm taken by biopsy in azoospermic men is as effective as fresh sperm taken by biopsy in helping couples conceive through in vitro fertilization (IVF), according to a study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The authors also determined that the type of facility where sperm is taken and its distance from the IVF laboratory has no bearing on pregnancy outcomes.

The findings, published online in PLOS ONE (July 29, 2013), may benefit men with no sperm in their semen due to genetics, cancer diagnoses, or testicular failure.

In this study, the authors analyzed data from 1995 through 2009 from the Washington University Infertility and Reproductive Medicine Center. One hundred thirty-six men had testicular biopsies to be used in intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Of those biopsies, 84% involved frozen sperm and the remaining 16% used fresh sperm. A statistically significant difference in fertilization rate was noted between frozen sperm (62%) and fresh sperm (47%), respectively. There was no difference between the delivery rate.

Two urologists performed 150 testicular sperm biopsies in an operating room adjacent to the IVF lab, in an operating room in another building almost 1 mile from the IVF lab, and in an ambulatory surgical center about 15 miles from the IVF lab. The maximum travel time from the third site was less than 30 minutes.

There was no statistically significant difference between the locations and pregnancy results.

“Men with no sperm in their semen now have more options to have children of their own,” said co-author Randall Odem, MD. “This study demonstrates that using frozen sperm taken by biopsy works as well for most patients in what matters most-pregnancy rates.”

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