What is DNA Fragmentation?

What is DNA fragmentation?

In an age when a small amount of high-quality sperm can lead to pregnancy through in vitro fertilization, the integrity of genetic material in sperm is essential for successful fertilization and normal embryo development. Sperm DNA fragmentation is a term used to identify abnormal genetic material within the sperm, which may lead to male subfertility, IVF failure, and miscarriage.

DNA fragmentation and recurrent pregnancy loss

Not only does DNA fragmentation directly correlate to lower fertility in men, but it is also linked to recurrent pregnancy loss (two or more failed pregnancies). A 2018 study published in the Middle East Fertility Society Journal examined the role that fragmented DNA plays in recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL).

The validity of sample testing

Exactly how valuable testing for sperm DNA integrity remains unclear. In a 2017 study entitled Finding the fit: Sperm DNA integrity testing for male infertility, the aforementioned Dr. Turek examined the semen analysis test that is often used to evaluate male fertility. He concluded, “…the concept that fertility is defined by threshold values of semen parameters is fundamentally flawed”. In particular, he noted tests to determine sperm DNA fragmentation led to results that were “nothing to brag about.” He suggested that both time and further research were needed to undeniably support sperm integrity testing.

Daily sex linked to reduced sperm fragmentation

Research suggests that the amount of sex a man has can impact their sperm quality. A 2009 study published by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) suggests that men who have daily sex can reduce sperm DNA fragmentation.

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