How do varicoceles affect fertility?

Updated: Jan 02, 2019
  • Author: Wesley M White, MD; Chief Editor: Bradley Fields Schwartz, DO, FACS  more...
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Bogaert and colleagues analyzed the paternity rates of 361 men older than 30 years who had received early screening and diagnosis of varicocele (at age 12 to 17 years; mean age 15.3 years). Of the 158 men who had an active desire to have a child, 85% of those who had been managed with observation only had achieved paternity, compared with 78% of those treated with antegrade sclerotherapy for varicocele. The investigators concluded that early screening and treatment for varicocele had no impact on paternity in adulthood. [8]

In men with a varicocele, the presence of an initially abnormal semen quality may be a risk factor for future deterioration of semen quality. In a prospective study of men with a mean follow-up of 5 years, among men with an abnormal semen analysis at presentation, the quality of semen degenerated in 28 subjects (87.5%); however, but among men with initially normal semen quality, only 6 patients (20%) had degenerated quality during follow-up. [9]


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