Good News for Men with NOA Infertility

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Male factor infertility represents about a third of all infertility cases. Of those, 10% experience azoospermia of which there are two predominant types: OA or obstructive and NOA or non-obstructive. OA is what it sounds like; an obstruction creates blockage making surgical removal of sperm necessary for ICSI and IVF to take place. NOA is more complicated and includes problems like lack of viable sperm and sperm with low motility. For NOA, just finding viable sperm for an IVF procedure has been a challenge leaving many couples without much choice for conception.

Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation have released findings from a 2001-2007 study which compared frozen epididymal and testicular sperm acquired through surgical removal from both OA and NOA men and have good news. They found that, although fertilization rates were slightly improved in the OA group, there were no significant differences in implantation rates or clinical pregnancy rates. According to Nina Desai who led the research team, “The high implantation rate per embryo transferred and the resultant live births attest to the quality of embryos being produced with both types of surgically retrieved sperm.”

In other words, good quality embryos are resulting from both OA and NOA fathers when sperm is acquired through testicular removal then cryopreserved.

Researchers were also able to observe that not only is the IVF working, but good quality embryos are resulting whether the sperm comes from an OA or NOA donor or from the epididymis or testes. One of the earliest indicators of embryonic genome activation is increased cell-to-cell adherence at the 8-cell stage, leading to compaction. According to Desai, “Embryonic compaction was similar in all three groups. These results suggest that zygotic activation is independent of sperm origin and type of azoospermia.”

Source: Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology


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