Sperm DNA Fragmentation

The methods for evaluation of male infertility have typically been limited to a semen analysis measuring count, motility and morphology of the sperm. New studies suggest that sperm with certain levels of DNA fragmentation serve as a strong predictor of reduced male fertility.

Research indicates that sperm with high-levels of DNA fragmentation have a lower probability of producing a successful pregnancy. A review of data on hundreds of semen samples show that patients with a DNA fragmentation level of greater than 30% are likely to have significantly-reduced fertility potential, including a significant reduction in term pregnancies and a doubling of miscarriages. Sperm that appears to be normal by traditional semen analysis parameters (motile, morphologically normal sperm) may even have extensive DNA fragmentation. And since levels of sperm DNA fragmentation are not measured within a routine semen analysis, this is often missed as potential cause of fertility problems.

Evidence from international research on sperm DNA fragmentation suggest that in about one-fourth of couples coming to an infertility clinic the man has a high level of sperm DNA fragmentation that is likely contributing to couple infertility.

Patients with a percentage of DNA fragmentation higher than 30% will see less success with IUI, IVF, and IVF with ICSI.

Causes of high sperm DNA fragmentation:

Testing:

The test for DNA fragmentation is not usually covered by insurance and costs about $500. This company offers the test, and will ship all collection materials to your home, which you then ship back.

Links to more information about sperm DNA fragmentation:

The place of sperm DNA fragmentation testing in current day fertility management

The effect of sperm DNA fragmentation on miscarriage rates: a systematic review and meta-analysis

The sperm chromatin structure assay (SCSA) and DNA fragmentation: What is it and what does it mean?

Sperm DNA fragmentation: Is it clinically relevant?

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