Fresh vs frozen testicular sperm for assisted reproductive technology in patients with non-obstructive azoospermia: A systematic review

Arab J Urol. 2021 Jul 6;19(3):247-254. doi: 10.1080/2090598X.2021.1932303. eCollection 2021.


Objective: : To review the debate about the routine use of cryopreserved testicular sperm for intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) from patients with non-obstructive azoospermia (NOA), as some authors suggest repeating sperm retrieval in such cases due to poorer ICSI results when frozen-thawed testicular sperm is used compared with fresh sperm.

Methods: : A systematic literature review was performed in August 2020 using the Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online (MEDLINE), Web of Science databases and the Excerpta Medica dataBASE (EMBASE), and we included 26 studies that were considered eligible for this systematic review.

Results: : In all, 1189 publications were screened and 26 articles were included in the systematic review. Three meta-analysis reviews were included and they all concluded that the use of fresh and frozen sperms for ICSI from patients with NOA showed comparable fertilisation and pregnancy rates.

Conclusion: : The use of frozen testicular sperm from men with NOA results in fertilisation and clinical pregnancy rates similar to those of fresh sperm. This may encourage fertility centres to use frozen testicular sperm samples, as this policy has certain advantages that would help with organising their workflow.Abbreviations: CPR: clinical pregnancy rate; 2PN%: two pronuclei % fertilisation rate; ICSI: intracytoplasmic sperm injection; NOA: non-obstructive azoospermia; OA, obstructive azoospermia; SCO: Sertoli cell-only syndrome; (micro-)TESE: (microsurgical) testicular sperm extraction.

Keywords: Azoospermia; intracytoplasmic sperm injection; non-obstructive azoospermia; sperm cryopreservation; testicular sperm.

Publication types

  • Review