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Controversy exists around the use of epididymal sperm for in vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection for couples with obstructive azoospermia, and the ability to reliably predict fertility outcomes with surgically extracted epididymal sperm remains limited. To provide additional clinical context, we sought to compare in vitro fertilization/intracytoplasmic sperm injection outcomes of epididymal sperm from couples with obstructive azoospermia to outcomes of couples using normal, ejaculated sperm. We performed a case-control analysis of 40 couples who underwent office based epididymal sperm retrieval for obstructive azoospermia followed by in vitro fertilization/intracytoplasmic sperm injection compared with a control group of 38 female, age matched couples with no evidence of female factor infertility who underwent in vitro fertilization/intracytoplasmic sperm injection with normal, ejaculated sperm. Primary outcome was live birth on the initial embryo transfer. Epididymal samples yielded a median total motile sperm count of 9.1 million, compared to 81 million for ejaculated sperm. On the primary embryo transfer fertilization rate (71% vs 77%, p=0.2), blastulation rate (48% vs 59%, p=0.09), clinical pregnancy rate (70% vs 58%, p=0.4), and live birth rate (58% vs 47%, p=0.4) did not differ between epididymal and ejaculated sperm groups. For couples with a male partner with obstructive azoospermia epididymal sperm in vitro fertilization/intracytoplasmic sperm injection outcomes compare similarly with age matched controls undergoing in vitro fertilization/intracytoplasmic sperm injection using normal, ejaculated sperm. These results may help reproductive surgeons provide reassurance about the use of obstructed epididymal sperm as well as help guide discussions about anticipated outcomes of in vitro fertilization/intracytoplasmic sperm injection.


Solomon Hayon, Sarah Moustafa, Caitlin Boylan, Taylor P Kohn, Mary Peavey, R Matthew Coward. Surgically Extracted Epididymal Sperm from Men with Obstructive Azoospermia Results in Similar In Vitro Fertilization/Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection Outcomes Compared with Normal Ejaculated Sperm. The Journal of urology. 2021 Feb;205(2):561-567

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PMID: 33026908

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