Higher pregnancy rates using testicular sperm in men with severe oligospermia

Use of testicular sperm for intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is associated with a 50% pregnancy and live-birth rate for couples with 1 previous IVF–ICSI cycle failure with ejaculated sperm.


Akanksha Mehta, M.D., Alexander Bolyakov, M.S., Peter N. Schlegel, M.D., Darius A. Paduch, M.D., Ph.D.

Volume 104, Issue 6, Pages 1382-1387



To evaluate assisted reproductive technology (ART) outcomes using testicular sperm in oligospermic men who previously failed to achieve paternity using TUNEL-positive ejaculated sperm.


Retrospective cohort.


Academic medical center.


Twenty-four oligospermic men who failed one or more ART cycles using ejaculated sperm with TUNEL-positive proportion >7%, and subsequently underwent microsurgical testicular sperm extraction (TESE).


TESE followed by intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

Main Outcome Measure(s):

TUNEL-positive level in ejaculated and testicular sperm; clinical pregnancy.


The mean TUNEL-positive level was 24.5% for ejaculated sperm, and 4.6% for testicular sperm. Clinical pregnancy was achieved in the first ART cycle with testicular sperm in 12 (50%) out of 24 couples. There was no statistically significant difference in maternal and paternal age, maternal gravity and parity, number of previous ART attempts, concentration or motility of retrieved sperm, number of oocytes retrieved, fertilization rate, or number of embryos transferred between couples who did and did not achieve pregnancy. No miscarriages occurred. All 12 pregnancies resulted in the delivery of healthy children.


The percentage of TUNEL-positive cells is lower in testicular sperm for oligospermic men who have abnormal ejaculated sperm DNA fragmentation. The use of testicular sperm for ICSI was associated with a 50% pregnancy and live-birth rate for couples who had previously failed one or more IVF–ICSI cycles with ejaculated sperm. No other clinical predictors of successful pregnancies after the use of surgically retrieved sperm could be identified. In men with elevated TUNEL-positive ejaculated sperm and failed ART, TESE may be considered.

Read the full text at: http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(15)01762-8/fulltext