Department of Urology, Adelaide and Meath Hospital, Tallaght, Ireland.
To examine the success rate of electroejaculatory stimulation in patients with acquired spinal injuries in a single Irish institution. The use of electroejaculatory stimulation is of benefit in patients with spinal cord injury who wish to have children.
A retrospective review of the Hospital In-Patient Enquiry scheme database and the patients' medical notes was performed. Any patient who had undergone electroejaculatory stimulation in the past 14 years was included. The quality of semen obtained and the pregnancy rate were assessed in relation to several variables, including patient age and level of spinal injury.
From 1994 to 2008, 31 patients (29 patients with acquired spinal injury and 2 patients with a congenital spinal abnormality) had undergone electroejaculatory stimulation as a method of providing semen for assisted conception. Of the 31 patients, 6 had requested cryopreservation of their semen for future use and were therefore excluded from the pregnancy rate analysis. Of the 25 patients who had used the semen, 9 (36%) were successful in achieving pregnancy that resulted in living offspring. The semen analysis results were available for 15 patients. Three patients (one each with contaminated semen, poor semen quality, and an abandoned procedure) required testicular biopsy to extract viable sperm and subsequently achieved pregnancy. Lower spinal lesions (below T10) were associated with lower rates of pregnancy after electroejaculatory stimulation. One patient developed autonomic dysreflexia during the procedure, which was therefore abandoned.
Electroejaculatory stimulation is an effective method of obtaining semen for reproductive purposes and is an option for fertility preservation in patients with spinal cord injury-related anejaculation.