Testicular sperm extraction and intracytoplasmic sperm injection outcome in cancer survivors with no available cryopreserved sperm

J Assist Reprod Genet. 2020 Apr;37(4):875-882. doi: 10.1007/s10815-020-01697-7. Epub 2020 Jan 24.


Objective: To assess rates of successful testicular sperm retrieval and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) outcome in cancer survivors affected by non-obstructive azoospermia (NOA) or retrograde ejaculation (RE)/failure of emission (FOE).

Methods: A retrospective analysis of cancer survivors who did not cryopreserve sperm prior to treatment undergoing testicular sperm extraction (TESE). Non-cancer NOA patients and neurologic RE/FOE were the control group.

Results: A total of 97 cancer survivors were offered TESE and 88 (91%) accepted. Sperm was retrieved and cryopreserved in 34/67 patients with NOA (50.7%) and in 21/21 patients affected by RE/FOE (100%). Sperm retrieval rates were similar in the control group (44.9% in NOA and 100% in RE/FOE). The ICSI cumulative pregnancy rate (60%) and live birth rate (40%) per couple in 30 NOA men did not differ from controls (50.0 and 46.5%, respectively; p = 0.399/0.670). The cumulative pregnancy rate (66.7%) and live birth rate (55.6%) in 18 RE/FOE men did not differ from the control group (38.9 and 33.3%, respectively; p = 0.181/0.315). The cancer type and the resulting infertility disorder (NOA or RE/FOE) were not associated with ICSI outcomes. Female partner age was inversely related to the cumulative live birth rate, being fourfold lower (11.5%) in women ≥ 40 years and 48.8% in younger women (p = 0.0037).

Conclusions: The rate of successful TESE and the ICSI outcome in cancer survivors with NOA and RE/FOE is the same as non-cancer azoospermic patients. Female partner age (older than 40 years) was associated with a significant reduction in live birth rates after TESE-ICSI procedures.

Keywords: Cancer survivorship; Intracytoplasmic sperm injection; Male infertility; Testicular sperm extraction.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Azoospermia / epidemiology
  • Azoospermia / pathology
  • Azoospermia / prevention & control*
  • Cancer Survivors*
  • Cryopreservation
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro
  • Humans
  • Live Birth
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / complications
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Rate
  • Sperm Injections, Intracytoplasmic
  • Sperm Retrieval / standards*
  • Spermatozoa*