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Indexed/Abstracted in: BIOSIS Previews, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
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Mazzilli F., Rossi T., Delfino M., Sarandrea N., Dondero F.
From the Department of Medical Pathophysiology Laboratory of Seminology and Immunology of Reproduction University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Rome, Italy
Background. Recent artificial reproductive technologies (ART) have enabled even azoospermic subjects to take part in “in vitro fertilization” programs. The aim of the present study was: a) to evaluate the incidence of azoospermic male partners of infertile couples; b) to determine whether biochemical evaluation of such azoospermic males can help to discriminate between obstructive and secretory azoospermia.
Methods. Semen samples (n. 28,339; period 1990-1997) were analyzed according to WHO guidelines. In addition, in 108 azoospermic subjects, fructose, citric acid and L-carnitine (taken respectively as markers of seminal vesicle, prostate and epididymal function) were assayed using a new, faster technique, the differential pH method.
Results. The incidence of azoospermic semen samples was 4.76%. The biochemical analyses were indicative diagnostically, especially with regard to obstructive azoospermia. However, in secretory azoospermia, biochemical analysis of seminal plasma did not offer particularly helpful indications, except in cases of hypogonadism.
Conclusions. Azoospermia accounts for a relatively high number of cases and justifies detailed attention to the diagnostic and therapeutic approach. Biochemical analysis of the seminal markers is a valid support for differential diagnosis between secretory and obstructive azoospermia. It can therefore help in the correct recruitment of such patients for ART programs.