Pregnancy and live birth rates after microsurgical vasoepididymostomy for azoospermic patients with epididymal obstruction
STUDY QUESTION Can microsurgical vasoepididymostomy (MVE) be an effective treatment for azoospermic men with epididymal obstruction? SUMMARY ANSWER MVE is an effective treatment for epididymal obstruction, with overall patency and live birth rates of 76.3% and 34.8%, respectively. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY We showed that MVE was an effective treatment for non-vasectomized patients with epididymal obstruction and prior failed sperm retrieval for ICSI. ICSI is the preferred treatment for obstructive azoospermia in some reproductive centers. Some small studies documented that MVE could achieve high patency and pregnancy rates. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION This retrospective study was designed to investigate the natural pregnancy and live birth rates after MVE and to identify possible predictors of pregnancy. From January 2011 to July 2013, 241 patients underwent MVE for epididymal obstruction in our andrology center. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS All patients underwent scrotal exploration and MVE. Semen was analyzed every 3 months postoperatively until pregnancy was achieved. Patency, pregnancy and live birth rates were evaluated. Preoperative and intraoperative data were compared between patent and non-patent groups to identify factors affecting the patency rate. Predictors of pregnancy were identified by univariate and multivariate analyses with Cox regression models. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE Data from 198 males (82.2%) were analyzed. The mean (±SD) age of males and female partners was 31.0 ± 5.8 and 28.4 ± 4.4 years, respectively. Sperm was present in the ejaculate of 151 patients (76.3%) postoperatively. Patency rates were increased for patients with bilateral anastomosis, distant anastomosis and motile sperm in epididymal fluid. Overall, 81/198 males (40.9%) reported pregnancy in partners and 73 newborns were delivered. The overall live birth rate was 34.8%. Male age (hazard ratio (HR) [95% CI] 0.407 [0.203–0.816], P = 0.011), sperm concentration (HR [95% CI] 4.988 [2.777–8.957], P < 0.001) and forward motility (HR [95% CI] 1.751 [1.042–2.945], P = 0.035) were predictors of pregnancy. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION A randomized control trial comparing pregnancy rates, live birth rates, risks and medical costs of MVE and IVF/ICSI is needed. The sample size of females >35 years old was small, so we could not determine whether female age was a predictor of pregnancy. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS MVE is an effective therapy for azoospermic patients with epididymal obstruction. Sperm concentration and forward motility may predict pregnancy after the procedure. Microsurgical reconstruction could be a first choice for epididymal obstruction. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S) No external funding was received. The authors have no competing interests. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER Not applicable.
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