By The Examen Team
This blog was originally published on Fertility Road.
People often assume that fertility problems lie with the woman, but male infertility contributes half (50%) of the problem for the millions of couples worldwide who experience fertility issues. High sperm DNA damage is a common factor in men experiencing fertility problems so healthy sperm are vitally important to getting pregnant. By understanding the quality of sperm DNA, fertility experts can take measures to improve male fertility and predict the likelihood of success of assisted reproductive technology (ART), such as IVF or ICSI.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK, fertility services were paused. As we emerge from lockdown, the backlog will take months to catch up. In order to give yourself the best possible chance of success with your next cycle of treatment, speak to your clinic about Exact® tests and check the quality of your sperm first, to make every cycle of treatment count.
Exact tests (powered by SpermComet® Technology) analyse your sperm DNA quality by measuring the amount of DNA damage in individual sperm. Even men with high sperm DNA damage can take steps to reduce this and improve their profile within 3-6 months.
Male infertility is often under investigated prior to couples starting fertility treatments such as IVF and ICSI. Standard semen analysis is the only test that is carried out on men, but this only looks at the quantity, motility and shape of sperm, and not the quality! Sperm DNA damage is a much stronger indicator of male fertility as it will also tell you whether the quality of the sperm is likely to get your partner pregnant, or if there’s a high chance of miscarriage. The quality of your sperm will also enable fertility experts to determine which treatment is right for you.
Our research shows that 80% of men attending fertility clinics with normal sperm counts did in fact have high sperm DNA damage. This significantly reduces the chances of those men becoming dads, with or without fertility treatment.
It’s essential to have a clear picture of the quality of your sperm prior to fertility treatment so that a fertility expert can choose the treatment that has the highest possibility of success for you.
Exact tests have been shown to predict the IVF fertilisation rate, embryo and blastocyst quality, implantation rate, pregnancy rate and live birth rate. Not only this, but by having a clear picture of the health of your sperm DNA, you can see whether or not there is a possibility of improving it.
If you are found to have high levels of sperm DNA damage, there are other options that your fertility expert can explore. Importantly, there are simple lifestyle changes that you can make in order to improve your sperm DNA. These include stopping smoking, limiting alcohol intake, reducing stress and getting more sleep, as well as tackling other medical problems that may be reducing your fertility. All of these changes can improve the likelihood of successful treatment, as well as the likelihood of a successful natural pregnancy.
Such small changes could help you become a dad, so it’s a no brainer to understand your levels of sperm DNA damage BEFORE undertaking the physical, emotional and financial strain of fertility treatment.
For some men with significantly high sperm DNA damage, lifestyle changes may not improve your sperm sufficiently. If this is the case, then IVF may not be the best option after all. In fact, ICSI is a more successful treatment option for men with high sperm DNA damage. Jack did just that and now has a beautiful baby via ICSI:
“I didn’t think there was a problem with my sperm as I had 4 kids from a previous relationship. But now we couldn’t conceive so we went to see a urologist in London. He found that I had a low sperm count and really high DNA damage. My sperm had 95% damage in them! The doctor said I had partial obstruction from germs and infections, and he recommended taking sperm from my testes. We had ICSI with testicular sperm and now we have a baby. Thank you so much guys, you made our dream come true.”
Having a clear understanding of the health and quality of your sperm DNA is important in everyone’s fertility journey, whether that results in natural conception or improving your chances via IVF or ICSI.
Checking out whether you have sperm DNA damage is easy so don’t wait. Get the answers you need and start your journey towards having a baby today:
Find your nearest clinic to book an appointment and request and Exact test.