Detecting and Minimizing Sperm DNA Damage

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In recent years, with the advancement in sperm cell biology and the development of additional testing techniques, sperm DNA fragmentation has been recognized as one of the important causes of reduced fertility potential. Elevated sperm DNA fragmentation rates also significantly diminish the chance of success in assisted pregnancies. Sperm DNA damage can impair fertilization, disrupt embryonic development, and increase rates of miscarriage and poor conception rates. Newer studies suggest the possibility of an increased risk of childhood cancer when an embryo develops from DNA-damaged sperm. There is limited data from large, randomized, controlled trials to support improvement in male fertility with current interventions such as antioxidant therapy, varicocelectomy, and antibiotics treatment in genital tract infections. Nonetheless, research efforts have shown improvements in semen parameters and these interventions are low risk. Therefore, when the external risk factors are known, every effort should be made to minimize sperm DNA damage.

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