Objective To evaluate the outcomes of men who underwent varicocelectomy for total motile sperm count (TMSC) <2 million and to perform a cost-effectiveness analysis of intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization with intracyctoplasmic sperm injection after varicocelectomy. Methods We prospectively collected data of men with TMSC <2 million who underwent microsurgical subinguinal varicocelectomy. Men with azoospermia were excluded. Serum testosterone, luteinizing hormone, and follicle-stimulating hormone were measured preoperatively. Postoperative semen analysis was collected first at 3 months and then every 3 months thereafter. Cost-effectiveness for assisted reproductive technologies was calculated using reported costs. Results A total of 17 men underwent varicocele repair for TMSC <2 million. The mean sperm concentration, motility, and TMSC was 1.1 ± 1.4 million/mL, 15.5% ± 12.8%, and 0.44 ± 0.54 million prior to varicocelectomy, respectively. After varicocelectomy, 14 of 17 men had improvements in TMSC. The mean change in sperm concentration, motility, and TMSC was 4.3 ± 4.7 million/mL, 12% ± 17.2%, and 6.0 ± 8.5 million, respectively. The mean postoperative sperm concentration, motility, and TMSC was 5.4 ± 5.4 million/mL, 27.5% ± 25.1%, and 6.5 ± 8.5 million, respectively. A total of 10 of 17 men had TMSC greater than 2 million. Of the 10 men, 1 man achieved spontaneous pregnancy and 7 men underwent a cycle of IUI; 2 of the 7 (28.6%) men achieved successful pregnancy with IUI (cost per pregnancy: $35,924). Conclusion Varicocelectomy increases TMSC in severely oligospermic patients, thus providing previously ineligible couples an opportunity to elect for IUI, a less invasive and less expensive alternative to in vitro fertilization with intracyctoplasmic sperm injection.
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