Sperm DNA

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Sperm DNA

The sperm is necessary to carry DNA from the male to the female egg, allow fusion of the sperm with the egg and even provide the raw materials needed for the embryo to grow.

It is thought that some couples with unexplained infertility may have problems with their sperm DNA. So while a semen analysis will reveal basic problems, like not having enough sperm, the quality of the sperm can only be assessed by doing a Sperm DNA Test to investigate its’ DNA.

At Footsteps to  Fertility Centre, we are pleased to offer our patients the Sperm DNA Fragmentation Test for male infertility problems.

Feel free to contact us. We are more than happy to walk with you through your journey.

Sperm DNA contributes half of the offspring’s genetic material. If the DNA is abnormal in some way such as fragmented DNA, it may cause a breakdown in the reproductive process and therefore lower the chance of a healthy baby.

The DNA in sperm is protected from damage by wrapping itself tightly around proteins inside the sperm head. During the maturation of sperm in the male reproductive tract, sperm gradually loses its ability to fix damaged DNA. There is some suggestion that when the DNA is “packaged” correctly, the sperm may be more susceptible to the effect of harmful molecules called “free radicals”.

In addition, there are other factors that may result in an increase in the percentage of spermatozoa with DNA damage. Among them, the most common are obesity, cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol intake, chewing of khat ( miraa ),  genital tract infection, testicular cancer,  increased testicular temperature, exposure to pesticides, and air pollution.

Sperm DNA Testing

Sperm DNA Fragmentation Testing

Sperm DNA fragmentation testing is not part of a routine semen analysis even though the method of collection is the same for the two tests. However, sperm samples for both tests may be obtained from the same specimen.

After a sperm sample is collected at a fertility clinic, a portion of the specimen is frozen and sent to a specialty lab for sperm DNA fragmentation testing.

On examination, sperm quality is determined by DNA integrity, which is measured by counting the number of breaks in the double-strand DNA structure. A high level of sperm DNA fragmentation may contribute to infertility.

When conception does occur, highly fragmented sperm DNA may negatively affect embryo development and decrease the chances of a successful pregnancy.

Improving Sperm DNA Integrity

It is possible to reduce sperm DNA fragmentation, in some cases, depending on the cause. Surgical repair of large varicoceles can improve DNA integrity as can treating infections with appropriate antibiotic therapy. Lifestyle measures that may be helpful include:

  • Stay cool. Don’t soak in hot baths or hot tubs and avoid placing laptops over testes
  • Stop smoking. Talk to your doctor about smoking cessation programs
  • Lose weight. Obesity is linked to sperm DNA fragmentation
  • Follow a healthful diet. Add a variety of fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants to help combat oxidative stress
  • Consider supplements. While many over-the-counter supplements for male fertility have not been proven effective, there are some supplements that may help reduce DNA fragmentation. These should be discussed with your fertility specialist in Kenya at Footsteps To Fertility Centre in Nairobi.

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