Determination of sperm DNA fragmentation

Manufacturer: HALOTECH DNA

Country: Spain



Every life is unique. So are we

Advanced analysis of the male factor

1. Why is the male factor important in fertility treatment?

A couple between 29 and 33 years of age, with no fertility problems, has  a 20 to 25% chance of conceiving on any given month. After 6 months of  trying, 60% of couples will conceive without any medical assistance. If  after one year of sexual intercourse without contraception, pregnancy is  not achieved, the couple is considered infertile. The male factor is  responsible for 34% of cases of infertility, while 30% of cases have an  unfavourable diagnosis for both the woman and the man. It is for this  reason that early, comprehensive semen analysis can identify potential  problems to avoid embarking upon costly and repeated Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART).

2. Does conventional semen analysis (a seminogram) provide all the information available regarding male fertility?

Conventional semen analysis only studies spermatozoa concentration,  motility and morphology. It is an incomplete study, as it omits analysis of  one of the most important parameters, the integrity of the DNA molecule.  In addition, knowing the levels of oxidative stress and the quality of the  spermatozoon’s membrane guarantees a better diagnosis for subsequent fertility treatment. 15% of men who are considered infertile  present normal semen analysis results.

3. How does DNA fragmentation, oxidation, and vitality affect male fertility?

DNA fragmentation, excessive oxidative stress, and the lack of vitality in  the spermatozoon correlate directly with a low fertility rate and with  failures in embryonic development. This translates into an increase in the  number of cycles needed to achieve pregnancy through IUI (Intrauterine  Insemination), IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) or ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm  Injection), deterioration of embryo quality and repeated miscarriages.

4. After the diagnosis of fragmentation, oxidation and vitality, what steps should I take?

Based on the percentage of fragmentation, level of oxidation and  vitality of sperm cells, your medical professional will validate the semen  sample and, together with the semen analysis, will decide on the  reproductive technique and treatment that is most appropriate to  increase the likelihood of success.

5. Can these factors be mitigated?

Treatment with antioxidants may significantly reduce levels of DNA  fragmentation. The response to treatment varies as a function of the  causes that can cause said damage: if this results from toxic factors or  high temperatures that activate sperm caspases and endonucleases,  it is difficult to modify levels of DNA fragmentation in sperm.

6. Are there techniques that allow us to obtain spermatozoa with lower levels of sperm DNA fragmentation?

Spermatozoa that come from the first portion of the ejaculate have  lower levels of DNA fragmentation. On the other hand, repeated ejacu lation or the use of spermatozoa originating in the testicle can achieve  similar results depending on the type of patient. The effectiveness of  these strategies must be evaluated by your medical professional in  each case, which varies among patients.

7. Are the results of semen analyses consistent across a man’s life? 

Although semen quality may be the same during different cycles of an  individual’s spermatozoa production and maturation, it may also vary  due to external factors such as stress, bacterial or viral infection, fever, or a change in lifestyle habits. It is important to know the quality of the ejaculate to be used in Assisted Reproduction.

8. What differences can I find in the results of the cycles based on whether or not these parameters are included  in the study?

In IUI, the probability of reaching a full-term pregnancy is practically  zero in individuals with more than 30% fragmentation. In addition, DNA  fragmentation is a parameter indicative of the presence of infections  such as Chlamydia trichomatis and Mycoplasma as well as variocele. In  these cases, the patients present sperm DNA fragmentation rates above  30%.

Levels greater than this percentage influence the rate of fertilization and embryo quality, leading to a greater rate of repeated miscarriage and  lower reproductive success.

9. Does knowing the sperm DNA fragmentation rate increase the likelihood of success in my treatment?

DNA fragmentation is important when it comes to selecting a couple’s  assisted reproductive technology. It has been demonstrated that it is  related to the probability of full-term pregnancy during IUI cycles. Levels  above 30% reduce the likelihood of success from 19% to 1.5%.

Knowing this data, we can select alternative techniques to IUI. In IVF  treatments, fragmentation levels below 25% lead to a live birth rate of  33%. With fragmentation levels greater than 50%, this rate falls to 13%.

10. Are there techniques on the market that identify sperm quality?

Halotech offers different kits that allow identification of sperm DNA fragmentation levels (Halosperm), oxidative stress levels (Oxisperm) and the quality  of the spermatozoon’s membrane (Vitaltest).

11. What is the procedure like?

The patient just has to follow the instructions of his medical professional.  They will need a semen sample, which will be processed by the labora tory personnel, following a rapid and easy-to-follow established laboratory protocol.

12. How much time do the results take?

Halotech’s in vitro tests offer immediate results. Fragmentation and  oxidation tests show a certain result in less than an hour, while for the  vitality test, the information is instantaneous.

13. What are Halotech’s techniques based on?

DNA fragmentation (Halosperm): non-invasive technique that analyses  ejaculated spermatozoa. It aims to discriminate between a normal and  affected spermatozoon, based on direct correlation of the presence of a  spermatozoon with a large chromatin dispersion halo (normal spermatozoon) or without a dispersion halo (abnormal spermatozoon).

Oxidation (Oxisperm): uses a reactive gel that changes colour in a  recent ejaculate. Using a colour scale, the degree of the sample’s oxidation can be determined.

Vitality (Vitaltest): allows the distinction of live and dead spermatozoa,  based on the integrity of their membranes.

14. What levels are considered normal?

A DNA fragmentation level greater than 30% is considered risky, and it  is therefore considered that there is a male factor associated with the  reproductive failure.

15. What causes DNA damage in the spermatozoon?

Sperm DNA damage is a multifactorial process. Tobacco use, obesity,  tight clothing, ingestion of certain drugs, fever, advanced age, chemotherapy or radiotherapy, are environmental factors that can produce an  increase in sperm DNA fragmentation levels.

Some natural factors like improper maturation or oxidative stress trans late into failures during the production of spermatozoa in the testicle,  which result in the same response.

16. In what cases is the sperm DNA fragmentation test indicated?

Many professionals use information from Halotech solutions at the start  of treatment, supplementing conventional semen analysis.  In addition, fragmentation, oxidation, and vitality analysis is especially  recommended for:

  • Couples with a history of miscarriages.
  • Couples with unexplained infertility for more than 6 months
  • Men older than 40
  • Men with a history of cancer
  • Men under treatment with prescription medications
  • Men exposed to toxic agents
  • Men who have had urogenital infections
  • Men with unhealthy lifestyle habits: those who smoke, are sedentary, have an unbalanced diet or are obese.
  • Poor quality of the embryo during second cycles of egg donation
  • Male factor of unknown cause

17. Does cryopreservation or freezing affect the semen sample?

Freezing samples in liquid nitrogen does not modify DNA fragmentation of spermatozoa, so the test can be performed on frozen samples  that can then be used in different Assisted Reproductive Technologies.  After thawing, the samples must be used quickly to avoid increasing  damage.


halotech DNA

Parque Científico de Madrid, C/ Faraday, 7. Planta 1.

Madrid (Spain)

(+34) 91 279 69 50 · info@halotechdna.com

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