Volume 106, Issue 6, Pages 1338-1343
E. Will Kirby, M.D., Laura Elizabeth Wiener, M.S., Saneal Rajanahally, M.D., Karen Crowell, M.L.I.S., Robert M. Coward, M.D.
To evaluate how varicocele repair (VR) impacts pregnancy (PRs) and live birth rates in infertile couples undergoing assisted reproduction wherein the male partner has oligospermia or azoospermia and a history of varicocele.
Systematic review and meta-analysis.
Azoospermic and oligospermic males with varicoceles and in couples undergoing assisted reproductive technology (ART) with IUI, IVF, or testicular sperm extraction (TESE) with IVF and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
Measurement of PRs, live birth, and sperm extraction rates.
Main Outcome Measure(s)
Odds ratios for the impact of VR on PRs, live birth, and sperm extraction rates for couples undergoing ART.
Seven articles involving a total of 1,241 patients were included. Meta-analysis showed that VR improved live birth rates for the oligospermic (odds ratio [OR] = 1.699) and combined oligospermic/azoospermic groups (OR = 1.761). Pregnancy rates were higher in the azoospermic group (OR = 2.336) and combined oligospermic/azoospermic groups (OR = 1.760). Live birth rates were higher for patients undergoing IUI after VR (OR = 8.360). Sperm retrieval rates were higher in persistently azoospermic men after VR (OR = 2.509).
Oligospermic and azoospermic patients with clinical varicocele who undergo VR experience improved live birth rates and PRs with IVF or IVF/ICSI. For persistently azoospermic men after VR requiring TESE for IVF/ICSI, VR improves sperm retrieval rates. Therefore, VR should be considered to have substantial benefits for couples with a clinical varicocele even if oligospermia or azoospermia persists after repair and ART is required.