Reliable single sperm cryopreservation in Cell Sleepers for azoospermia management

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Conventional sperm freezing methods perform best when freezing sperm samples containing at least hundreds of spermatozoa. In this severe male factor infertility case series, we examined the reproductive outcomes in 12 intracytoplasmic sperm injection cases where spermatozoa used were frozen in Cell Sleepers. Cell Sleepers are novel devices in which individual spermatozoa can be frozen in microdroplets. The case series included five men with obstructive azoospermia, six with nonobstructive azoospermia and one with cryptozoospermia, in whom microscopic sperm retrievals from testicular sperm extraction (TESE), micro-TESE extracts and a centrifugation procedure resulted in less than 50 spermatozoa. A total of 304 microscopically retrieved spermatozoa were frozen in 20 Cell Sleepers using a rapid manual cryopreservation method. A total of 179 mature oocytes were injected with recovered thawed spermatozoa, resulting in a fertilisation rate of 65.9% (118 of 179), with no total fertilisation failures. In 10 cases, an embryo transfer was performed, three on day 3 and seven on day 5, resulting in a per cycle pregnancy rate of 58.3% (seven of 12). Four of the pregnancies have progressed past 20 gestation weeks. The recovery and use of spermatozoa that were frozen in Cell Sleepers was uncomplicated and effective and eliminated the need to perform any microscopic sperm retrieval procedures on the day of oocyte collection. Modification of the routine sperm cryopreservation methodology to include the use of Cell Sleepers increases the range of sperm samples that can be effectively cryopreserved, to include men with severe male factor fertility.

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