Sperm DNA fragmentation test

A second opinion service - Free of charge

We offer a second opinion service where you can send us your hormone test results, sperm test results and other results. We offers our opinion based on our longstanding experience in this field on the phone. It will not be a face-to-face medical consultation.

Why you may wish to do this test?

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 exams (sperm concentration, motility analysis, morphology assessment) cannot detect.

This test provides a reliable analysis of sperm DNA integrity and may help in the clinical diagnosis, management and treatment of male infertility.

A sperm, drawn with Chinese calligraphy, TCM Healthcare — London fertility clinic

Embryos formed from sperm with highly fragmented DNA have a poor prognosis. Evidence suggests this could result in apoptosis and mutations that can result in blastocyst arrest, miscarriage, offspring abnormalities and increased susceptibility to childhood cancer.

A major causative factor of sperm DNA damage is oxidative stress. Other factors include abnormalities in the regulation of apoptosis or defects in topoisomerase activity. Higher levels of sperm DNA fragmentation is associated with:

  • Infection
  • Leukocytospermia
  • Spermcytoplasmic droplets
  • Febrile illness
  • Elevated testicular temperature
  • Drug use
  • Smoking
  • Exposure to environmental and occupational pollutants
  • Advanced age
  • Varicocele

When should I consider the test?

You should consider the test if you have any of the following:

  • Unexplained infertility
  • Multiple failed IVF/ICSI treatments
  • Recurrent miscarriage
  • Advanced age
  • Varicocele
  • Poor semen parameters
  • Exposure to harmful substances

How does the test work?

Sperm are stained with a fluorescent probe that interacts with the DNA molecule. The fluorescence signal changes when the DNA is fragmented, which is monitored by a flow cytometer. The SCSA test has been developed over the last 20 years and is CLIA approved.

The results show 3 categories of fertility potential, based on the percentage of your sperm cells that contain damaged DNA, also known as the DNA fragmentation index:

  • Less than 15% DFI: excellent fertility potential
  • 15%–30% DFI: good fertility potential
  • More than 30% DFI: fair to poor fertility potential



Includes a report, follow-up phone call to explain the result and to talk about potential treatments.

How long do results take?

2–3 working weeks

When can I do the test?

  • Monday to Friday, 7.00am–5.00pm
  • Saturday, 9am–12.30pm

What are the test conditions?

  • No high fever over the last 12 weeks
  • Abstain from ejaculation for 2 days before you come in. You do the test on the 3rd day after your last ejaculation

What next?

Some causes of DNA fragmentation cannot be treated, but if the damage is caused by free radicals, then a change in lifestyle and diet to protect against oxidative stress can reduce fragmentation levels.

Treatment of infection with antibiotics can also reduce DNA fragmentation. There is some evidence to show varicocele repair may improve sperm DNA integrity. A second test to see if initiatives are working can be done 3 months after the first.

There is increasing research to show Chinese herbal medicine, which contains high levels of antioxidants, may help oxidative stress.

Studies show that ICSI may be a more effective treatment than IVF for sperm with high DNA fragmentation.

Our tests

We will explain the results to you and explore your options if there are issues. As a reputable laboratory carries out our tests, the results are accepted by all doctors and clinics in the world. Most results are available between 1 and 3 days.

Have a look at our comprehensive set of pathology tests below.

We’re also happy to offer advice on which tests you may want to take, and help interpret any results you already have.

Book a test

Call us on: 020 7096 0283

Thank you! Your message has been sent!

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form


While we are happy to explain your test results to you, we always advise consulting your GP and having a proper medical consultation about your result. This is because these tests are Western medical tests and are best explained by Western medical doctors. We do not accept any liability regarding interpretation of test results should you wish us help explaining them.

If you have booked a test and decide to change the time or date, we are more than happy to help you change it to one that is convenient to you at no extra charge. However, cancellation will carry a small administrative fee of £30, before refund.