What Is Sperm DNA Damage?
There are various factors that affect sperm health. The main factors include unhealthy lifestyle, excessive smoking and consumption of caffeine, radiation, infections, certain medications and chemicals. These factors that cause some fragmentations in sperm DNA can negatively affect the fertilization rate, development and quality of embryo. On the other hand, severe DNA damages can also cause recurrent miscarriages.
Therefore, in addition to sperm count and motility, sperm DNA damage is also critical for pregnancy. DNA damage can now be determined with special staining techniques thanks to current technological means.
How Is It Diagnosed?
Damage in DNA structures can be determined even if the sperm count, motility and morphological features are found normal in sperm tests performed for male patients. Thus, in addition to standard sperm test, further examinations are also needed.
There are several different analysis methods for determining sperm DNA damage.
- Sperm Chromatin Structure Assay (SCSA)
- Sperm Chromatin Dispersion Assay (SCD)
- Aniline Blue test
- Toluidine Blue test
- Acridine Orange test
- Halo test
- Comet assay
- In situ nick translation
Who Should Have Sperm DNA Damage Analyses?
In investigations for infertility, sperm DNA damage tests are performed in specific cases.
- Individuals with history of repeated failures in In vitro fertilization
- In cases of recurrent miscarriages
- Men who have high risk due to their lifestyles
- Men with varicocele
are recommended to have sperm DNA damage tests.
What Are The Treatment Methods?
Although sperm DNA damage cannot be fully treated, the damage can be controlled by minimizing the underlying factors. If the underlying cause of DNA damage is unknown, supportive treatments such as antioxidant tablets are recommended.
On the other hand, the damaged sperms can be separated and healthy sperms can be used for fertilization during in vitro fertilization to increase chance of pregnancy.