In our previous article, «Male Abstinence and Pregnancy,» we talked about the fact that long-term abstinence in men is associated with increased percentage of sperm with fragmented DNA.

But what does DNA fragmentation actually mean? Which men should do a DNA fragmentation test?

The standard semen analysis provides information on the three main parameters measuring a man’s fertility — concentration, motility and morphology of sperm. However, the spermogram does not provide information on the percentage of sperm with fragmented DNA in the man’s semen. The integrity of the genetic material (DNA) of sperm can be disrupted due to the action of chemicals, smoking, high fever, free radicals released during normal metabolism, and others. High rates of DNA fragmentation (≥ 30%) are associated with poorer embryo quality and miscarriages.

Indications for research

The DNA fragmentation test is recommended for patients with normal spermogram parameters who, together with their partner are with uncleared infertility factor or have undergone multiple failed assisted reproductive procedures.

The test can also be performed on patients with abnormalities in the basic parameters examined in the spermogram. Although the cause of infertility in men described as a male factor is considered to be known, a DNA fragmentation test may be ordered at the discretion of the treating physician. This usually happens when there are more than 3 failed in vitro procedures or several miscarriages. The test is also recommended in case of preconditions in the men`s working environment such as exposure to chemicals, fever and examples.

In such cases, the detection of an increased percentage of sperm with fragmented DNA means that a change in lifestyle is needed. This includes not only avoiding working environment risk, but also leading a healthier lifestyle and consuming much more foods rich in antioxidants.

A test for DNA fragmentation of sperm is done with a pre-arranged appointment at the clinic, as the result is ready on the next day.

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