Why do I need a DNA fragmentation test?

Why do I need a DNA fragmentation test? 

This is a really good question and one we are often asked by our patients especially if they have been suggested to have a DNA fragmentation test despite having a "normal" semen analysis result. This can be not only confusing but also worrying. So, why would you need a DNA fragmentation test?

A semen analysis or sperm test is an analysis of the number and motility of the sperm in the ejaculate. So that shows whether sperm is being producing in enough numbers to potentially conceive, what it doesn't check is the quality of that sperm. Cue the DNA fragmentation test.

A DNA fragmentation test could also be termed a sperm quality check as it assesses the quality of the sperm at a genetic level. It is important when trying to conceive or when embarking on IVF or other fertility treatment as it gives important information by identifying DNA damage in sperm. It has been shown that increased DNA fragmentation is associated with reduced male fertility, failure of IVF and early miscarriage.

DNA is the code for life, so an increase in the damage of this DNA reduces the chances of pregnancy and a healthy baby. This test is fast becoming the go-to test when it comes to assessing male fertility.

At Fertility Solutions we would recommend a DNA fragmentation test to anyone who:

  • has been trying to conceive for one year
  • is considering IVF or other fertility treatment
  • has suffered a miscarriage
  • has been unsuccessful with IVF treatment

Traditionally, the response to a couple facing fertility problems has been to focus on the woman with little evaluation of the male partner. Often, assessing why DNA fragmentation is high and working to correct this will result in drastic improvements in male fertility and therefore likelihood of a pregnancy and successful treatment.

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