Posthumous sperm retrieval: Analysis of time interval to harvest sperm

Shai Shefi*, Gil Raviv, Michael L. Eisenberg, Ruth Weissenberg, Liza Jalalian, Jacob Levron, Gili Band, Paul J. Turek, Igael Madgar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background:Current recommendations regarding posthumous sperm retrieval (PSR) are based on a small number of cases. Our purpose was to determine the time interval from death to a successful procedure. Methods: Sevent een consecutive PSR procedures in 14 deceased and 3 neurologically brain-dead patients at two male infertility centres [Sheba Medical Center (SMC), Tel-Hashomer, Israel and University of California San Francisco (UCSF), San Francisco, CA, USA] were analysed. Main outcome measures were retrieval of vital sperm, pregnancies and births. Results: PSR methods included resection of testis and epididymi s (n = 8), en-block excision of testis, epididymis and proximal vas deferens with vasal irrigation (n = 6), electroejaculation (EEJ) (n = 2) and epididymectomy (n = 1). PSR was performed 7.5-36 h after death. Sperm was retrieved in all cases and was motile in 14 cases. In two cases, testicular and epididymal tissues were cryopreserved without sperm evaluation, and in one case, no motility was detected. IVF and ICSI were performed in two cases in which sperm had been retrieved 30 h after death, and both resulted in pregnancies and live births. Conclusions: V iable sperm is obtainable with PSR well after the currently recommended 24-h time interval. PSR should be considered up to 36 h after death, following appropriate evaluation. No correlation was found between cause of death and chance for successful sperm retrieval.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2890-2893
Number of pages4
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Assisted reproduction
  • Male infertility
  • Posthumous
  • Sperm retrieval


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