Non-obstructive azoospermia and clinical varicocele: therapeutic options

Int Urol Nephrol. 2013 Jun;45(3):669-74. doi: 10.1007/s11255-013-0443-x. Epub 2013 Apr 20.


Ten to fifteen percent of infertile men are azoospermic, and sixty percent of these men have been classified as having non-obstructive azoospermia (NOA). NOA results from testicular failure, and one of the causes of this is the presence of varicocele. Varicocele is observed in 5-10 % of men with NOA. This review discusses the impact of varicocele repair on semen quality and pregnancy rate among men with NOA. Based on the best available evidence, varicocele repair of men with NOA is associated with an improvement in semen quality and pregnancy rate. Thus, it appears to be an effective therapeutic option for this group of men, particularly for those with a female partner who is younger than 35 years of age, before an assisted reproductive technique (ART) is initiated. Semen cryopreservation is recommended once the patient has spermatozoa in the ejaculate. In addition, varicocele repair seems to improve the rate of spermatozoa recovery in testicular sperm extraction for those who requested ART.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Azoospermia / etiology
  • Azoospermia / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Rate
  • Reproductive Techniques*
  • Semen Analysis
  • Urologic Surgical Procedures, Male / methods*
  • Varicocele / surgery
  • Varicocele / therapy*

Supplementary concepts

  • Azoospermia, Nonobstructive