Retrieval and cryopreservation of sperm from spermatocele fluid
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OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the amount, motility, and viability of sperm in fluid aspirated from naturally occurring spermatoceles and to investigate the effect of cryopreservation of sperm retrieved from spermatoceles. Assisted reproductive technologies have led to successful pregnancies and deliveries using sperm harvested from the epididymis and/or testis of infertile men. METHODS: Aspiration of spermatocele fluid and analysis of the fluid obtained was performed on 20 patients before elective spermatocelectomy. Randomly selected samples (n = 5) were washed using a 70% Percoll gradient, and repeated semen analysis was performed. The washed specimens were cryopreserved in liquid nitrogen, and repeated semen analysis was performed on the thawed specimens. RESULTS: All spermatoceles (n = 20) had viable sperm present (count range 54 x 10(4) to 326 x 10(6)) and 16 (80%) of 20 contained motile sperm. The average percentage of motile sperm was 5%. The average sperm motility and average percent viability of sperm recovered after Percoll gradient improved compared with sperm in the initial spermatocele aspirates (motility 5%, range 0% to 25% and viability 36%, range 2% to 91% before Percoll vs. motility 13%, range 2% to 38% and viability 39%, range 10% to 92% after Percoll). Sperm retrieved after cryopreservation demonstrated reduced motility and viability; however, motile and viable sperm were recovered from all washed and cryopreserved samples. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that spermatocele fluid may contain sufficient numbers of sperm for use with assisted reproductive technologies. Motile and viable sperm can be recovered after cryopreservation and storage of sperm obtained from a spermatocele. Spermatocele fluid may be an additional source of sperm for assisted reproductive technologies.
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