Taking a more in depth look at your sperm…
Why DNA fragmentation?
The genetic integrity of the spermatozoa is vital for normal embryo development. A high level of DNA fragmentation in sperm cells is one cause of male infertility that conventional examinations – sperm concentration, motility analysis, morphology assessment – cannot detect.
How much is the fee?
The fee is £430. It includes the test per se, sending a report to you and following it up with a phone call to explain the result and explore treatment options if appropriate.
What is the ideal condition for semen analysis?
2 to 3 days of abstinence provides the ideal condition for a sperm test to be carried out. You should also not have had any high fever in the last 12 weeks.
When will results come in?
Results will come in in 2 to 3 working weeks. We will explain the results to you and explore options when there are issues. Since the test is carried out by a reputable laboratory in this field, the results will be accepted by any doctor or clinic in the world.
What are the advantages of the sperm DNA fragmentation test?
This test provides a reliable analysis of sperm DNA integrity that may help to identify men who are at risk of failing to initiate a healthy pregnancy. Information about sperm DNA integrity may help in the clinical diagnosis, management and treatment of male infertility and may be of prognostic value in assessing the outcome of assisted conception treatment.
What would a poor result mean?
Embryos derived from sperm whose DNA is highly fragmented have a poor prognosis. Evidence suggests that this could result in apoptosis and mutations which can result in blastocyst arrest, miscarriage, abnormalities in the offspring and an increased susceptibility to childhood cancer.
What are the causes of sperm DNA fragmentation?
A major causative factor for sperm DNA damage is oxidative stress. Other factors include abnormalities in the regulation of apoptosis, or defects in topoisomerase activity.
Increased sperm DNA fragmentation is associated with:
- sperm cytoplasmic droplets
- febrile illness
- elevated testicular temperature
- drug use
- exposure to environmental and occupational pollutants
- advanced age
When should I consider the test?
You should consider this test if you have the following:
- unexplained infertility
- multiple failed IVF/ICSI treatment
- recurrent miscarriage in partner
- advanced age
- poor semen parameters
- exposure to harmful substances
What are potential treatments?
Some causes of DNA fragmentation cannot be treated, but if the damage is caused by free radicals, then a change in lifestyle and a diet designed to protect against oxidative stress may help reduce the levels of DNA fragmentation in some of these cases.
Treatment of infection with antibiotics would also be expected to reduce DNA fragmentation. There is some evidence to show that varicocele repair may improve sperm DNA integrity. Initiatives to reduce the levels of fragmentation can be assessed by undertaking a second test three months after the first.
There is increasing research to show that Chinese herbal medicine, which contains a high level of anti-oxidants may help oxidative stress.
Studies show that ICSI may be a more effective treatment than IVF for sperm with a high DNA fragmentation.
How is the test performed? What is the dna fragmentation test?
This test is an effective method for measuring thousands of sperm in an ejaculate. Sperm are stained with a fluorescent probe that interacts with the DNA molecule. The fluorescence signal changes when the DNA is fragmented, and this is monitored using a flow cytometer. The SCSA® test has been developed over the last 20 years and is CLIA approved.
How are the results interpreted?
The results are reported showing 3 statistical categories of fertility potential:
DNA Fragmentation Index (%DFI; % sperm cells containing damaged DNA)
< 15% DFI = excellent fertility potential
> 15 to < 30% DFI = good fertility potential
> 30% DFI = fair to poor fertility potential*
What to do next?
There is strong evidence to suggest that Chinese herbal medication may help DNA fragmentation as many herbs contain anti-oxidants. We will explore with you options that you may wish to take in light of results received.
How do I arrange a test?
Give us a call on 0207 096 0283 and we can arrange the test for you the next day.
We have a wealth of experience in fertility treatment for both males and females at TCM Healthcare – contact us to find the best solution for your situation. Call us on: 0207 096 0283
Professor Shun Au OBE
TCM Healthcare Fertility Clinic