It is generally assumed that men with congenital bilateral absence of the vas deferens (CBAVD) have azoospermia because of obstruction and that sperm production is normal. This study examines spermatogenesis in men with CBAVD to assess the validity of this assumption. We identified all men with CBAVD who had undergone either a diagnostic or therapeutic fertility procedure. Procedures included diagnostic biopsy, testis fine needle aspiration (FNA) mapping, microscopic epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA), and testis sperm extraction (TESE). Among 33 CBAVD men, 18 underwent testis biopsy, 27 had MESA/TESE, and 10 had FNA mapping. On evaluation of these procedures, normal spermatogenesis was present in 29 men. Four men (12%) demonstrated impaired spermatogenesis. One patient had FNA testis cytology consistent with late maturation arrest, another demonstrated hypospermatogenesis on biopsy and low sperm yield by MESA, and two patients had pure Sertoli cell only histology on biopsy. Aetiologies for impaired spermatogenesis included varicocele and underlying genetic abnormalities. Although patients with CBAVD are assumed to have normal spermatogenesis and infertility due simply to obstruction, the potential for concomitant defects in sperm production exists. A clinical suspicion of testis failure should prompt further diagnostic evaluation of spermatogenesis prior to sperm retrieval. In addition, genetic counselling should be offered and testing for genetic lesions, including cystic fibrosis gene mutations and/or variants, Y chromosome microdeletions, and karyotype abnormalities, should be considered.
Copyright (C) 2001, European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology
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