Year : 2016  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 205-212

Specialized sperm function tests in varicocele and the future of andrology laboratory

1 Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
2 Androfert, Andrology and Human Reproduction Clinic, Referral Center for Male Reproduction, Av. Dr. Heitor Penteado, 1464, Campinas, SP 13075-460, Brazil
3 Genetics Unit, Department of Biology, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
4 American Center for Reproductive Medicine, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ahmad Majzoub
Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1008-682X.172642

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Varicocele is a common medical condition entangled with many controversies. Though it is highly prevalent in men with infertility, still it marks its presence in males who do have normal fertility. Determining which patients are negatively affected by varicocele would enable clinicians to better select those men who benefitted the most from surgery. Since conventional semen analysis has been limited in its ability to evaluate the negative effects of varicocele on fertility, a multitude of specialized laboratory tests have emerged. In this review, we examine the role and significance of specialized sperm function tests with regards to varicocele. Among the various tests, analysis of sperm DNA fragmentation and measurements of oxidative stress markers provide an independent measure of fertility in men with varicocele. These diagnostic modalities have both diagnostic and prognostic information complementary to, but distinct from conventional sperm parameters. Test results can guide management and aid in monitoring intervention outcomes. Proteomics, metabolomics, and genomics are areas; though still developing, holding promise to revolutionize our understanding of reproductive physiology, including varicocele.

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