A full detailed semen analysis is limited in the information it can provide. While it gives us a lot of information about whether there are sufficient sperm moving well enough to reach the egg, it tells us nothing about the sperm’s ability to bind to the egg once it gets there, and nothing about the genetic integrity of the sperm.
Of course by far the greatest contribution from a sperm to the embryo is that of its genetic constitution, which is key to an ongoing pregnancy. Chromosome (genetic) defects are the major cause for very early embryo loss.
Causes of Genetic Abnormalities in Sperm
- inherited or congenital defects
- abnormal sperm development
- infection and pus cells
- oxidative stress
- elevated testicular temperature
- drug use
- chemo- or radiotherapy
- poor diet
- cigarette smoking, alcohol, caffeine
- occupational or environmental toxins
- advanced age
Who May Benefit from these Tests?
The tests may be helpful if you have any of the following:
- poor semen parameters
- unexplained infertility
- poor embryo development
- recurrent failed IVF or ICSI treatment
- recurrent miscarriage in partner
- advanced age
- exposure to harmful substances
Fortunately, there are now tests available to assess various aspects of sperm genetic integrity which may give us clues to the male contribution toward failure to conceive or recurrent miscarriage.
- Comprehensive semen analysis
- Genetic screening
- Oxidative stress levels in semen (ROS test)
- Retrograde ejaculation
- Infection screening
- Testicular ultrasound scanning
- Hormone profiles
- Well man screening