A predictive score for testicular sperm extraction quality and surgical ICSI outcome in non-obstructive azoospermia: a retrospective study

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In non-obstructive azoospermia (NOA), testicular sperm extraction (TESE) is successful in ∼50% of cases. A parameter for predicting TESE quality and pregnancy rates after ICSI of testicular spermatozoa is still lacking.


We retrospectively evaluated the total testicular volume (TTV), hormone levels and TESE quality in 280 patients with NOA. After successful TESE, the characteristics of the ICSI cycles and the take-home baby rates were evaluated.


TESE was successful in 149 patients (53.2%). In a multivariate logistic regression analysis, only TTV, FSH and inhibin B were correlated with the TESE outcome. A score including these three parameters was the best predictor of successful TESE (positive likelihood ratio: +3.01). When the score was <18.5, TESE was successful in 77.4% of cases and ‘sperm rich’ (i.e. yielding >100 spermatozoa) in 91.1% of cases; 42.8% of couples took a baby home. The take-home baby rate did not depend on whether the score was <18.5 or between 18.5 and 3700. If the score was >3700, TESE was successful in 37.8% of cases and ‘sperm rich’ in 14.3% of cases; only one couple took a baby home (a rate of 7.7 versus 42.8% when the score was <18.5; P< 0.001). Owing to low sperm retrieval on the day of oocyte retrieval, fewer oocytes were injected when the score was >3700 than when <3700.


Thanks to better knowledge of TESE quality, the present score could help to improve care and pre-ICSI counseling for patients with NOA.

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