Failure modes and effects analysis for testicular sperm extraction management process

Pierandrea Canepa, Caterina De Leo, Ida Casciano, Camilla Rizzo, Fausta Sozzi, Francesca Ambrosini, Carlo Terrone, Aldo F. De Rose, Paola Anserini, Paola Scaruffi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) is a proactive risk evaluation to identify and reduce potential failures that may occur during a procedure within a quality management programme. One of the procedures performed in assisted reproduction technology centres is testicular sperm extraction (TESE) as treatment of azoospermic patients. To examine the risks associated with the ‘TESE management’ process, we applied the FMEA method, before and after implementation of corrective measures defined in a standard operative procedure (SOP). A multidisciplinary team was formed. Possible causes of failures and their potential effects were identified, and risk priority number (RPN) for each failure was calculated. The FMEA team identified 4 process activities, 19 process steps and 19 potential failure modes. The re-evaluation after the corrective measures disclosed a reduction in the number of phases with high/moderate risk (pre-SOP: n = 13; post-SOP: n = 3). Improvements in the traceability system removed 11 out of 13 (85%) steps with a low risk of occurrence. In our experience, FMEA is efficient in helping multidisciplinary groups to strengthen knowledge and awareness on routine processes, identifying critical steps and planning practical improvements for a better compliance with criteria of traceability and conformity of biological samples and patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13506
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020



  • clinical risk management
  • FMEA
  • risk assessment
  • TESE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Urology

Cite this

Canepa, P., De Leo, C., Casciano, I., Rizzo, C., Sozzi, F., Ambrosini, F., Terrone, C., De Rose, A. F., Anserini, P., & Scaruffi, P. (Accepted/In press). Failure modes and effects analysis for testicular sperm extraction management process. Andrologia, [e13506].