A male fertility test has been utilized to discover the cause of unexplained infertility for many couples trying to have a baby.
Around 80% of couples who are diagnosed with unexplained or idiopathic infertility have a known cause called high sperm DNA damage and the test can help these couples understand better treatment options, which will keep them from wasting their money, time, and emotions.
Scientists at Queen''s University Belfast (UK) studied over 500 couples, and utilized the male fertility test in the most recent round of trials conducted by the well-known male fertility experts at the university. Almost one third of couples had no obvious cause for infertility and these couples were given the diagnosis of “unexplained fertility.” These couples often invest a lot of time and money in fertility treatments like intrauterine insemination (IUI) which is unlikely to be successful. The study explained the cause of infertility for many of those couples.
The other significant finding revealed by the study is that it is the first to present evidence suggesting that the likelihood of conceiving after in vitro fertilization (IVF) is linked to the amount of damaged DNA a man''s sperm contains. A small amount of damage such as less than 15% of sperm is considered normal. However, if the damage reaches more than 25% of sperm, the chances of having a baby are lowered, even if the couple is going through fertility treatment.
The male fertility test used in the study is called SpermComet (Lewis Fertility Testing Ltd, Belfast, UK). The SpermComet test is so called because it looks just like a comet in the skies. The head of the “comet” is undamaged DNA and the tail is damaged DNA. From the tail of the comet, the exact amount of damaged DNA in each individual sperm can be measured.
Sheena E.M. Lewis, PhD, a professor at Queen''s University, said, "We have developed the SpermComet, which is a unique test for male infertility that measures damaged DNA in individual sperm providing all couples with specific information about the causes and extent of their infertility. This test can predict the success of infertility treatments and fast-track couples to the treatment most likely to succeed, leading to reduced waiting times and improved chances of success."