Fertility potential after unilateral orchiopexy: an age independent risk of subsequent infertility when biopsies at surgery lack germ cells

J Urol. 1996 Jul;156(1):217-20. doi: 10.1016/s0022-5347(01)66004-x.


Purpose: We evaluated whether adult fertility potential was better when unilateral orchiopexy was done at ages 2 to 6 years or later, and we identified those at risk for infertility.

Materials and methods: Unilateral orchiopexy was performed simultaneously with testicular biopsy in 11 patients 2.8 to 6.8 years old and in 54, 10.0 to 11.9 years old. In adulthood measurement of testicular volume, serum follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone and testosterone was done, as well as analysis of semen specimens.

Results: At orchiopexy the 2 groups were statistically similar, and statistically similar fertility potentials were found in adulthood. Five of the 65 patients (7.7%, 95% confidence limits 2.5 to 17%) may experience infertility, representing 33% of both groups with less than 1% of the age matched number of spermatogonia per tubular transverse section (approximately no germ cells) in the biopsy specimen at orchiopexy.

Conclusions: Between ages 2 and 12 years the timing of unilateral orchiopexy may vary without an effect on subsequent fertility potential. When biopsy at surgery lacks germ cells, there is an approximately 33% age independent risk of subsequent infertility. Otherwise patients may be fertile after unilateral orchiopexy between ages 2 and 12 years.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Biopsy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cryptorchidism / complications
  • Cryptorchidism / pathology
  • Cryptorchidism / surgery*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / etiology*
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Sperm Count