DOI: 10.1142/s2661318223743023 ISSN: 2661-3182

#110 : Diagnostic Approach and Clinical Recommendations for Non-obstructive Azoospermia: Global Andrology Forum Survey Results

Zhongwei Huang, Paula Benny, Shaili Sashidharan, Amarnath Rambhatla, Rupin Shah, Ashok Agarwal
  • General Medicine

Background and Aims: Non-obstructive azoospermia (NOA) is the most common form of male infertility, characterized by an absence of sperm in ejaculate and is caused by testicular failure. While NOA afflicts 10-38.3% of infertile males, there is no specific recommendations in EAA/EAU guidelines on its clinical diagnosis or WHO guidelines on semen analysis. Therefore, we conducted a global survey to assess the standard approach of practitioners in the diagnosis and management of NOA.

Method: The Global Andrology Forum (GAF) conducted a survey on 436 independent practicing entities from 55 countries. We compiled data from 336 respondents (andrologists, urologists, fertility specialists). Information collected included frequency of NOA, varicocele, frequency of obtaining semen, interval between obtaining semen samples, hormone evaluation (FSH, LH, prolactin, total/free testosterone, SHBG, estradiol, inhibin), genetic testing (karyotype, Y-chromosome deletion, CFTR, Kal1) and referral to genetic counsellors.

Results: The majority of participants (80%) either reported <10% or 10-25% NOA frequency in their population (Fig. 1A). 40.6% of participants stated that 10-25% of men with NOA cases have a clinically significant varicocele (Fig. 1B). For NOA diagnosis, majority of participants cited the requirement of at least two semen samples, with a period of 14-29 days as the interval between two semen analyses. To achieve high-quality semen, consideration must be given to an abstinence period (2-7days) and the complete collection of ejaculates. The survey reported FSH (97%), LH (86.9%) and total testosterone (92.9%) tests as most frequently used for NOA patients (Fig. 2A). The initial hormonal evaluation of a patient with suspected NOA should include total testosterone levels and LH, as these hormones are the primary regulators of spermatogenesis. Karyotype analysis (86.2%), Y-microdeletion (88.3%), CFTR (21.9%) and Kal1 (2.7%) were most routinely performed genetic tests (Fig. 2B). Referrals to genetic counsellors is recommended as these defects have the potential to be passed to future generations.

Conclusion: This global study evaluates NOA frequency, clinical diagnosis and management by specialists, in an effort to fill the gap in NOA research. Concomitantly, we provide GAF expert recommendations to enhance our collective understanding of NOA, optimize patient care and improve the management of NOA.

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