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Sperm DNA damage

Additional information


What is sperm DNA damage?

It takes around two months for mature sperm to be made and how the genetic material, DNA, is packaged in the sperm is complex. There is a theory that during sperm cell maturation the DNA is susceptible to factors which may cause the DNA strands to break or fragment. There are some theories that this may cause failed IVF cycles or miscarriage

Several different tests might be used by your clinic to assess the level of DNA damage in your sperm. There is some evidence for a relationship between sperm DNA damage and the outcome of fertility treatment. However, the evidence is conflicting and depends on the type of test used by the clinic. The results of a sperm DNA damage test are unlikely to impact on the management of your treatment.

DNA fragmentation was last discussed at the October 2018 SCAAC meeting. Minutes of the October 2018 discussion and the evidence used to inform this discussion are available here. There is currently no traffic light rating for treatments relating to sperm DNA damage.

Are there any risks?

Sperm DNA damage testing is a non-invasive procedure performed on a semen sample, usually before treatment as an additional diagnostic test. There are no significant additional risks to the patient.

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Review date: 25 August 2022

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