Regular fertility testing vs DNA fragmentation testing
When treating males, many fertility specialists opt for tests that evaluate the sperm’s concentration, morphology, and motility. Although these exams are essential, these evaluations only tell part of the story. All these tests center on the presence of sperm instead of the quality of sperm. Researchers have discovered that 50% of conception issues are due to male infertility. The presence of sperm is not the only issue men must contend with. The health and quality of the sperm is also a factor. Genetically abnormal sperm is less likely to fertilize eggs or grow into a healthy embryo. Embryos made from fragmented sperm are more likely to result in miscarriages. Therefore, identifying and selecting healthy sperm is necessary for successful fertilization.
Why do sperm cells develop abnormalities?
Sperm cells develop genetic abnormalities due to defects in sperm chromatin, cell death mechanisms, DNA repair mechanisms, and oxidative stress. Some external factors that contribute to sperm DNA abnormalities include:
- Poor diet
- Drug use
- Cigarette smoking
- Elevated testicular temperature
- Old age
Many men are unaware of sperm abnormalities until problems with conception arise. Men that have experienced multiple miscarriages with a partner or failed in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments should consider the DNA fragmentation test.
Can sperm DNA abnormalities be treated?
DNA abnormalities caused by external factors like stress or poor diet can be improved through lifestyle changes. Doctors may also suggest varicocele surgery or testicular aspiration of sperm. To learn more about sperm DNA fragmentation, consult a healthcare provider. A fertility specialist will be able to explain treatment options and fertility tests.