Fertility outcomes after extended searches for ejaculated spermatozoa in men with virtual azoospermia

Conducting an extended search in the ejaculate can be a legitimate option, before testicular sperm extraction, for men with virtual azoospermia.

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Volume 107, Issue 6, Pages 1305–1311


Netanella Miller, M.D., Tal Biron-Shental, M.D., Yael Pasternak, M.D., Michael Belenky, M.Sc., Shai Shefi, M.D., Pavel Itsykson, Ph.D., Arie Berkovitz, M.D.



To assess the fertility outcomes of extended searches for ejaculated spermatozoa in men with virtual azoospermia.


A retrospective cohort of 242 couples whose male partner suffered from nonobstructive azoospermia and who were treated with the use of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).


Not applicable.


One hundred forty patients were referred to an extended search in the ejaculate and 102 patients were referred to microsurgical testicular sperm extraction (microTESE).



Main Outcome Measure(s)

Rates of sperm retrieval, fertilization, and pregnancy, take-home baby rate, and missed abortion rate were analyzed and compared.


In the ejaculated spermatozoa group, motile spermatozoa were retrieved in 91 cases (65%) and on oocyte pick-up day in 71 cases (78%), compared with 70 cases (68%) in the microTESE group, with a similar incidence of sperm retrieval between groups. No significant difference was found between groups regarding mean number of embryo transfer and fertilization and pregnancy rates. There was no significant difference between groups regarding take-home baby rate. A significantly higher first-trimester missed abortion rate was found in the ejaculated sperm group (n = 14; 52%) compared with the microTESE group (n = 3; 8.6%).


Conducting an extended spermatozoa search in the ejaculate of men with virtual azoospermia can provide pregnancy rates similar to those obtained with the use of microTESE, with a higher rate of spontaneous abortions in the ejaculate group.

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.