A man staring out in the distance

DNA damage and sperm

It has been well documented that oxidative stress damage can have a significant effect on sperm and as a result, will impact negatively on a man’s fertility.

The genetic integrity of sperm is essential for not only normal fertilisation and embryo development, but research has also revealed that high levels of DNA fragmentation in sperm have been linked to early pregnancy loss, miscarriage, and abnormalities in the offspring including an increased vulnerability to childhood cancer.

A recent study published at the beginning of October this year has focused on determining where the oxidative DNA damage is occurring and unexpectedly, the research has revealed that the damage is in fact targeted at specific regions of the paternal genome. What does this mean exactly? It means that the DNA damage isn’t occurring randomly, as once thought, however it is in fact targeting specific chromosomes that are particularly vulnerable to oxidative stress.

By uncovering this new information, it could potentially assist in improving the quality of treatment for men undergoing IVF and be of great value to understanding the effects of paternal exposure to environmental toxicants that we know are a major cause of DNA damage.

Fertility First has recognised the importance of sperm health and genetic integrity when it comes to fertility and healthy pregnancies, and has been testing for sperm DNA damage in patients since 2006. Our clinic will perform routine testing on all our male patients, including potential donors before fertility treatment commences to give you the best chance of being able to achieve a healthy pregnancy.