Global Practice Patterns in the Evaluation of Non-Obstructive Azoospermia: Results of a World-Wide Survey and Expert Recommendations

Shah R., Rambhatla A., Atmoko W., Martinez M., Ziouziou I., Kothari P., ...More

World Journal of Men's Health, vol.42, 2024 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 42
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.5534/wjmh.230333
  • Journal Name: World Journal of Men's Health
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: Azoospermia, Diagnosis, Guideline, Infertility, male, Surveys, questionnaires
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


Purpose: Non-obstructive azoospermia (NOA) represents the persistent absence of sperm in ejaculate without obstruction, stemming from diverse disease processes. This survey explores global practices in NOA diagnosis, comparing them with guidelines and offering expert recommendations. Materials and Methods: A 56-item questionnaire survey on NOA diagnosis and management was conducted globally from July to September 2022. This paper focuses on part 1, evaluating NOA diagnosis. Data from 367 participants across 49 countries were analyzed descriptively, with a Delphi process used for expert recommendations. Results: Of 336 eligible responses, most participants were experienced attending physicians (70.93%). To diagnose azoospermia definitively, 81.7% requested two semen samples. Commonly ordered hormone tests included serum follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) (97.0%), total testosterone (92.9%), and luteinizing hormone (86.9%). Genetic testing was requested by 66.6%, with karyotype analysis (86.2%) and Y chromosome microdeletions (88.3%) prevalent. Diagnostic testicular biopsy, distinguishing obstructive azoospermia (OA) from NOA, was not performed by 45.1%, while 34.6% did it selectively. Differentiation relied on physical examination (76.1%), serum hormone profiles (69.6%), and semen tests (68.1%). Expectations of finding sperm surgically were higher in men with normal FSH, larger testes, and a history of sperm in ejaculate. Conclusions: This expert survey, encompassing 367 participants from 49 countries, unveils congruence with recommended guidelines in NOA diagnosis. However, noteworthy disparities in practices suggest a need for evidence-based, international consensus guidelines to standardize NOA evaluation, addressing existing gaps in professional recommendations.