Influence of a short or long abstinence period on semen parameters in the ejaculate of patients with nonobstructive azoospermia

Arieh Raziel, Shevach Friedler, Morey Schachter, Sarita Kaufman, Ana Omanski, Yigal Soffer, Raphael Ron-El

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objective: To compare the effect of a short (4 days) or a long (14 days) abstinence period on sperm retrieval by extended sperm preparation in patients with nonobstructive azoospermia scheduled for testicular biopsy and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).Design: A prospective case control study. Setting: Male infertility clinic in a university hospital.Patient(s): Fifty male patients with nonobstructive azoospermia, scheduled for testicular biopsy for ICSI. Intervention(s): Diagnosis of nonobstructive azoospermia and a thorough microscopic search for sperm cells (extended sperm preparation). Main Outcome Measure(s): The number of sperm cells collected, sperm motility, and total motile sperm count after short and long abstinence periods. Result(s): There was a significant difference between long and short abstinence with an increase in sperm count (log-to-log transformed analysis of variance P<.025) and total motile sperm (P<.025 analysis of variance, P<.02 paired Student's t-test) in the former group, but no significant change in sperm motility (Wilcoxon and paired Student's t-test). In 18 patients, sperm concentration and sperm motility were similar in a second collection, done after the same abstinence period, compared with the same parameters in the first sample. When at least 10 motile sperm were defined as the cutoff number, allowing ICSI without testicular biopsy, no significant differences were found between the two abstinence periods. No clinical or laboratory male characteristic could predict the detection of 10 motile sperm by extended sperm preparation either after a short or a long abstinence period. Conclusion(s): Sperm count and total motile sperm were increased after a long abstinence period, with no change in sperm motility. No additional advantages were conferred by long abstinence as opposed to short abstinence when 10 motile sperm were defined as the cutoff number for ICSI. The recommended period of abstinence for extended sperm preparation and ICSI, whether short or long, should be individualized for each patient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-490
Number of pages6
JournalFertility and Sterility
Issue number3
StatePublished - 3 Sep 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Cryptozoospermia
  • Extended sperm preparation
  • Nonobstructive azoospermia
  • Quasiazoospermia
  • Testicular sperm extraction/aspiration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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