A follow-up study of children born after intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) with epididymal and testicular spermatozoa and after replacement of cryopreserved embryos obtained after ICSI

Hum Reprod. 1998 Apr:13 Suppl 1:196-207. doi: 10.1093/humrep/13.suppl_1.196.


The aim of this prospective follow-up study of children born after intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) was to compile data on karyotypes, congenital malformations, growth parameters and developmental milestones in order to evaluate the safety of this new technique. The study design included karyotyping of the parents and their agreement to genetic counselling and prenatal diagnosis and it was based on a physical examination of the child at the Centre for Medical Genetics at the ages of 2 months, 1 year and at 2 years, where major and minor malformations and psychomotor evolution are recorded. Here we describe the first 57 children born from 40 ICSI pregnancies with epididymal spermatozoa (group 1), the first 50 children born from 34 ICSI pregnancies with testicular spermatozoa (group 2) and the first 58 children born from 48 pregnancies after replacement of cryopreserved ICSI embryos (group 3). Parental karyotypes were obtained from only 72/246 (29%) parents and were all normal. Prenatal karyotypes were determined for a total of 70 samples (40%): 21 in group 1, 15 in group 2 and 34 in group 3. In this last group 2 abnormal 47,XXY karyotypes (5.8%) and no structural aberrations were found. This increase in de-novo sex-chromosomal aberrations has already been described with regard to the first 877 children born after ICSI carried out at our Centre and is probably linked directly to the characteristics of the infertile men treated rather than to the ICSI procedure itself. Major malformations, defined as those causing functional impairment or requiring surgical correction, were observed in four children: two born after ICSI with epididymal spermatozoa, one after ICSI with testicular spermatozoa and one after ICSI and cryopreservation. No particular malformation was disproportionally frequent. In the follow-up examinations at 2 months (107/161 or 66.5%) and at 1 year (37/161 or 22.9%), no additional anomalies were observed. Lost for follow-up rate at 2 months was 33.5%. These observations on a limited number of children do not suggest a higher incidence of diseases linked to imprinting, nor do they suggest a higher incidence of congenital malformations. These observations are still limited in number and should be further completed by others and by collaborative efforts. In the meanwhile patients should be told about the available data before any treatment: there appears to be some risk of transmitted chromosomal aberrations, of de-novo, mainly sex-chromosomal aberrations and of transmitting fertility problems to the offspring. Patients should also be reassured that until now there seems to be no higher incidence of congenital malformations in children born after ICSI with epididymal or testicular spermatozoa or after replacement of ICSI embryos.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child, Preschool
  • Congenital Abnormalities / diagnosis
  • Congenital Abnormalities / epidemiology
  • Cryopreservation*
  • Embryo, Mammalian*
  • Epididymis
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro / methods*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Microinjections*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prenatal Diagnosis
  • Spermatozoa*
  • Testis
  • Treatment Outcome