Testing sperm genetics
A DNA fragmentation test is used for testing sperm genetics. It is a test of the DNA quality of the sperm. This test is often used in conjunction with a standard semen analysis as it gives a deeper understanding of the sperm quality. Testing sperm genetics allows us to look inside the sperm at a genetic level to assess the quality.
Why is it important?
DNA underpins the make up of our cells so really is the building blocks for life. A DNA fragmentation test gives us important information about fertility as it identifies DNA damage in sperm. 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. Testing sperm genetics allows us to assess the DNA fragmentation levels of the sperm. High levels of DNA fragmentation are 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.
Whilst a semen analysis is important and gives information about the number, motility and shape of the sperm, adding a DNA fragmentation test gives a much fuller picture of a man's fertility. A DNA fragmentation test can detect male fertility issues that may be missed in a traditional semen analysis.
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, testing sperm genetics, 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.