Use of testicular versus ejaculated sperm for intracytoplasmic sperm injection among men with cryptozoospermia: a meta analysis

Among cryptozoospermic men, use of testicular sperm for intracytoplasmic sperm injection offers no advantages in fertilization or pregnancy rates when compared with ejaculated sperm.


Nikita Abhyankar, M.B.ChB., Martin Kathrins, M.D., Craig Niederberger, M.D.

Volume 105, Issue 6, Pages 1469-1475



To examine outcomes of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) using testicular versus ejaculated sperm among men with cryptozoospermia.




Not applicable.


Men with cryptozoospermia undergoing consecutive ICSI cycles using ejaculated or testicular sperm.


A systematic search was performed using PubMed (inception to August 2015). Inclusion criteria were studies comparing ICSI outcomes among men with cryptozoospermia using ejaculated and testicular sperm.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Primary outcomes included ICSI fertilization or pregnancy rates (PRs). Secondary analysis included number of retrieved oocytes, maternal and paternal ages. Meta-analysis of weighted data using a random effects model was performed. Results are reported as relative risk or weighted mean differences (WMD) with 95% confidence intervals (CI).


Five cohort studies were included, encompassing 272 ICSI cycles and 4,596 injected oocytes. There were no differences in ICSI PRs (relative risk [RR] 0.53, 95% CI 0.19–1.42, I2 = 67%) or fertilization rates (RR 0.91, 95% CI 0.78–1.06, I2 = 73%) between testicular and ejaculated sperm groups. There was a significant trend toward increasing maternal age (WMD 1.69 years, 95% CI −2.71 to −0.66) and paternal age (WMD 2.61 years, 95% CI −4.73 to −0.48) with testicular sperm. There was no difference between numbers of oocytes retrieved (WMD 0.95, 95% CI −0.15 to 2.05). Post-hoc power analysis revealed pβ <20% for PR analysis and pβ <10% for fertilization rate analysis. Conclusion(s):

The existing literature does not support a recommendation for men with cryptozoospermia to use testicular sperm in preference over ejaculated sperm for ICSI.

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