What is sperm fragmentation assay?

1 fertility expert(s) answered this question

Answer from: Douglas Lester, PhD, MSc, BSc (Hons)

Geneticist, Co-Founder & Chief Scientific Officer Fertility Genomics
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The Sperm Fragmentation Assay is very much a poor relation compared to DNA Sequencing and Karyotyping. No actual DNA letters are read in this assay. All the Sperm Fragmentation Assay detects is the number of unstable chromosomes present in a sperm population due to environmental factors like drinking and smoking or physiological factors like varicocele presence on the man’s testicles. Unfortunately, the correlation between observed increased fragmentation and failed infertility is poor. The only outcome of excessive fragmentation of ejaculated sperm is to take testicular sperm sample. However, this is not free of complications and should only be used as a last resort.

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Sperm fragmentation test - what the results may say?

When sperm is made, it may happen that it is damaged meaning that the DNA is broken into smaller fragments. High levels of sperm DNA fragmentation can be the cause of lack of pregnancy or an increased risk of miscarriage. Special tests exist that are able to pinpoint the level of the DNA damage.

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