A genetic sperm test is officially termed a DNA fragmentation test and is a test of the DNA quality of the sperm. This test gives a deeper understanding than a standard semen analysis test. The genetic test for sperm looks inside the sperm at a genetic level to assess the quality. A DNA fragmentation test gives important information as it identifies DNA damage in sperm. This is a key determinant when it comes to assessing male fertility and helps give a much more complete picture.
Why have a genetic test for sperm?
DNA underpins the building blocks that make up our cells so really is the building blocks for life. Research has indicated that damaged DNA reduces the chances of successful pregnancy and a healthy baby – this is a key test when assessing male fertility. The genetic test for sperm assesses the DNA fragmentation levels of the sperm, if these are high it is associated with infertility, failure of IVF and early miscarriage.
Fertility Solutions recommend a DNA fragmentation test for anyone who:
- Has been trying to conceive for one year,
- Is considering IVF or other fertility treatment
- Has been unsuccessful with IVF treatment
- Has suffered a miscarriage.
A DNA fragmentation test can detect male fertility issues that may be missed in a traditional semen analysis. Genetic problems with sperm will affect a man’s fertility, decrease the chances of successful IVF treatment and increase the risk of early miscarriage.
Often there are a lot of tests and investigations into women experiencing fertility problems, however, little is usually done to address a male partner. Often, using a genetic test for sperm, assessing the fragmentation levels of sperm and working to correct an abnormal result will result in drastic improvements in male fertility and therefore likelihood of a pregnancy and successful treatment.
At Fertility Solutions, our world renowned urologist, Mr Jonathan Ramsay (widely regarded as the UK’s leading expert in male fertility), will review your results and outline all the next steps and treatment options for you. Our embryologists will discuss this with you, make sense of the results for you and construct a referral or treatment pathway tailored to you.
The good news is that we will advise you of appropriate actions to both investigate the cause and identify treatment options to lower your DNA fragmentation levels. Reducing the DNA fragmentation levels will ultimately improve your fertility and increase your chances of pregnancy.
Many causes of DNA fragmentation are related to sub-optimal testicular function and this can be changed! Some common causes include varicocele, infection and sometimes lifestyle factors.