Author(s): Silber SJ, Nagy Z, Devroey P, Camus M, Van Steirteghem AC
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Abstract Factors other than spermatozoa could be the major determinant of the success of assisted reproduction treatment in cases of male infertility. Our aim was to evaluate the effect of the wife's age and ovarian reserve on assisted reproduction success rates in the most severe type of male infertility, i.e. azoospermia. A total of 249 consecutive couples suffering from male infertility caused by azoospermia underwent microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA) or testicular sperm extraction (TESE) with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Of these men, 186 had irreparable obstructive azoospermia, and 63 had non-obstructive azoospermia due to testicular failure. Neither the pathology, the source, the quantity, nor the quality of spermatozoa had any effect on fertilization or pregnancy rates. Maternal age and ovarian reserve (number of eggs) had no effect on fertilization or embryo cleavage, but did dramatically affect the embryo implantation, pregnancy and delivery rates. Wives of azoospermic men who were in their 20s had a 46\% live delivery rate per cycle, wives aged 30-36 years had a 34\% live delivery rate per cycle, wives aged 37-39 years had a 13\% live delivery rate per cycle, and wives > or = 40 years had only a 4\% live delivery rate per cycle. The number of eggs retrieved also affected pregnancy and delivery rate, but to a lesser extent than age. In virtually all cases of obstructive azoospermia, and in 62\% of cases with non-obstructive azoospermia caused by germinal failure, sufficient spermatozoa could be retrieved to perform ICSI, with normal fertilization and embryo cleavage. However, the pregnancy rate and the live delivery rate were dependent strictly on the age of the wife, and on her ovarian reserve. Unfortunately, exaggerated claims of high pregnancy rates can thus easily be made by manipulating, in a very simple way, selection for female factors.
This article was published in Hum Reprod
and referenced in Journal of Aging Science