A decision analysis of treatments for obstructive azoospermia

R. Lee, P. S. Li, M. Goldstein, C. Tanrikut, G. Schattman, P. N. Schlegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Treatments for post-vasectomy obstructive azoospermia include vasectomy reversal, microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA) or percutaneous testicular sperm extraction (TESE) with IVF/ICSI. We examined the cost-effectiveness of these treatments. METHODS: A decision analytic model was created to simulate treatment. Outcome probabilities were derived from peer-reviewed literature and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies database. Procedural costs were derived from a sampling of high-volume IVF centers and the Medicare Resource Based Relative Value Scale. Indirect costs of complications, lost productivity and multiple gestation pregnancies were considered. Sensitivity analyses were performed. RESULTS: Vasectomy reversal was more cost-effective than either MESA or TESE under all probability conditions. In 1999, vasectomy reversal demonstrated superior cost-effectiveness to TESE and MESA ($19 633 versus $45 637 and $48 055, respectively, equivalent to $25 321 versus $58 858 and $61 977 in 2005 dollars). In 2005, vasectomy reversal ($20 903) remained the most cost-effective treatment over TESE ($54 797) and MESA ($56 861). The cost-effectiveness of all treatments improved over projections by inflation. The relative cost-effectiveness of the therapies was unchanged over time. CONCLUSIONS: Vasectomy reversal appears more cost-effective than percutaneous TESE and MESA for treatment of obstructive azoospermia when the impact of indirect costs is considered. The absolute cost-effectiveness of all therapies improved over time. These results may be tailored with institution-specific data to allow more individualized results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2043-2049
Number of pages7
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Azoospermia
  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Decision support techniques
  • Infertility, male
  • Reproductive techniques, assisted


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