Sperm DNA fragmentation test
Publication date: 29.03.2021
Sperm DNA fragmentation test
For successful fertilization and normal embryo development, the “integrity” of the genetic material in the sperm is crucial. The term sperm DNA fragmentation refers to the condition when the spermatozoon contains abnormal genetic material, namely, its structural integrity is disturbed. This can be the cause of male infertility, unsuccessful in vitro fertilization and spontaneous termination of pregnancy. A standard spermogram that evaluates sperm count, motility, and morphology fails to evaluate sperm at the molecular level.
WHAT SHOULD WE KNOW ABOUT SPERM DNA FRAGMENTATION?
- A high sperm DNA fragmentation index has a negative effect on blastocyst development;
- The higher the sperm DNA fragmentation index, the greater the risk of infertility, failure of assisted reproductive technologies and spontaneous abortion;
- Sperm DNA fragmentation index is higher in infertile men with abnormal sperm counts;
- A man with normal sperm data may have a high sperm DNA fragmentation index;
ADVANTAGES OF SPERM DNA FRAGMENTATION TEST:
- gives us reliable information about the genetic material of the sperm, which is the most important parameter for evaluating the male reproductive function;
- provides information that, in the case of infertility, helps us to make a clinical diagnosis, develop disease management and treatment tactics;
- This test has prognostic value in terms of getting pregnant;
WHAT CAUSES SPERM DNA FRAGMENTATION?
In men, the main prerequisite for sperm DNA fragmentation is oxidative stress, which can be caused by:
- with infection
- with hyperthermia
- with increased temperature in the testicles
- with specific medications
- by using tobacco
- by consuming alcohol
- with stress
- with diet
- with environmental conditions
- by age
WHEN SHOULD A MAN HAVE A SPERM DNA FRAGMENTATION TEST? WHEN THERE IS A HISTORY OF:
- unexplained infertility;
- Embryo development delay;
- several unsuccessful attempts at in vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection;
- routine abortion;
- elderly patient;
- Sperm indicators deviating from the norm;
- Contact with harmful substances.
HIGH SPERM DNA FRAGMENTATION INDEX AND PREGNANCY POTENTIAL:
- An embryo obtained by sperm with a high DNA fragmentation index has a poor prognosis;
- The result of DNA fragmentation can be apoptosis or mutations, as a result of which the development of the embryo is blocked, spontaneous abortion occurs or fetal development anomalies develop;
- A normal, healthy pregnancy can occur with sperm with a high DNA fragmentation index, although the probability of this is low.
METHODS OF TREATMENT OF SPERM DNA FRAGMENTATION
The method of treatment depends on the underlying cause. If damage to sperm’s genetic material is caused by free radicals, lifestyle and diet changes are recommended to minimize the percentage of oxidative stress. Other methods are:
- Antibiotic therapy in case of infection;
- Lifestyle changes, meaning specific medications, tobacco use, and activities;
- A diet that includes healthy foods containing antioxidants, vitamins C and E;
- Testicular aspiration of sperm, as the genetic material of the sperm is fragmented after transport from the testis. The genetic material of sperm collected from the glands is usually less damaged than the genetic material of ejaculated sperm.
- From assisted reproductive technologies, it is better to use intracytoplasmic sperm injection;
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