Intracytoplasmic sperm injection by testicular sperm in patients with aspermia or azoospermia after cancer treatment

Int J Androl. 2006 Oct;29(5):521-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2605.2006.00684.x. Epub 2006 Mar 8.


The aim of this retrospective study was to evaluate the efficiency of testicular biopsy and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) in patients with aspermia or non-obstructive azoospermia (NOA) after cancer treatment. From 1996 to 2003, 30 men with a history of cancer, affected by aspermia or NOA and without sperm cryopreserved before cytotoxic treatment underwent testicular sperm extraction (TESE). In these men, clinical, hormonal and histological characteristics were compared; 13 underwent 39 TESE-ICSI cycles using frozen-thawed testicular spermatozoa (TESE-ICSI group). In the same period, 31 ICSI cycles were performed in 20 men with aspermia or NOA using ejaculated sperm frozen before cancer treatment (ejaculated sperm-ICSI group). Fertilization, blastocyst development, pregnancy and miscarriage rates were compared between the groups. Testicular volume, serum follicle-stimulating hormone level and Johnsen score indicated complete although reduced spermatogenesis in men with aspermia and abnormal spermatogenesis in men with NOA. After TESE, sperm retrieval was positive in 92% of men with aspermia and 58% of men with NOA. In TESE-ICSI patients with NOA a significantly lower proportion of embryos developed to the blastocyst stage than in patients with aspermia and in those after ICSI with frozen-thawed ejaculated sperm (23% vs. 43% and 47%, p = 0.03 and p < 0.01 respectively). In all groups the miscarriage rates were high; in patients with aspermia and NOA, characterized by increased age, the miscarriage rate tended to be higher in spite of similar female age and female indications of infertility. In patients affected by aspermia or NOA after cancer treatment and without sperm cryopreserved before treatment, TESE-ICSI using testicular sperm provide a chance to father a child.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Cell Separation / methods
  • Ejaculation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Oligospermia* / etiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Semen Preservation
  • Sperm Injections, Intracytoplasmic*
  • Spermatozoa
  • Testis / cytology