What can we learn about posthumous sperm retrieval after extra long-term follow-up?

Itai Gat*, Ana Umanski, Sarita Kaufman, Alon Kedem, Sarit Avraham, Michal Youngster, Gil Yerushalmi, Chen Kugel, Ariel Hourvitz, Osnat Levtzion-Korach

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To describe spermatozoa extraction rate by testicular sperm extraction (TESE) for posthumous sperm retrieval (PMSR) and examine harvest time impact on sperm motility; to compare long-term sperm usage between married vs. single deceased men. Methods: This retrospective study included all PMSR cases in Shamir Medical Center during 2003–2021. We evaluated sperm cryopreservation according to latency time after death. Then, we assessed sperm usage according to Israeli PMSR regulations. Results: The study included 69 (35 married and 34 singles) deceased men with average age of 30.3 ± 7.8 years. Sperm was cryopreserved in 65 cases (94.2%) after maximum and average harvest time of 40 and 16.5 ± 8.1 h, respectively. Motile sperm extraction was associated with significantly shorter harvest time compared with non-motile sperm (13.8 ± 7.3 vs. 18.7 ± 8.1 h, p = 0.046). Sperm usage among married deceased was significantly higher than single (15.6% vs. 0%, p = 0.05). Disposal requests were lower among single compared to married men relatives without reaching statistical difference. Eventually, single men had significantly higher rate of non-used cryopreserved samples (93.8% vs 69.6%, p = 0.01). Conclusion: This large long-term cohort study demonstrates high efficacy of PMSR. We found significant harvest latency time difference between motile and non-motile preserved sperm. Clinical sperm usage rate justifies the efforts for PMSR among married deceased. However, contradicting policy on the topic of single men (which implies liberal sperm preservation but rigid prevention of usage) results with high non-used sperm rate and relatives’ extremely sophisticated emotional burden.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1661-1665
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • Fertility preservation
  • Male infertility
  • Posthumous sperm retrieval
  • Sperm banking


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