Sperm DNA fragmentation test

The sperm fragmentation test is one more tool that we have in the study of the male factor. It is true that to this day it does not have a routine indication in the evaluation of fertility, but it has been seen that it is a useful element to take behaviors when proposing reproduction treatments.

Sperm DNA plays an important role in the normal development of the embryo, since the genetic information passed to it depends on the integrity of the DNA.

80% of men with infertility of idiopathic origin (without known cause), present high rates of DNA fragmentation, which tells us that sperm integrity has great implications on male fertility.

Despite the fact that sperm with sperm fragmentation have the ability to fertilize an egg. It is no less true that there is a negative impact on its development. This implies a decrease in the implantation of the embryo and an increase in gestational losses (abortions), which contributes negatively to the rate of healthy babies at home.

Mehdi et al. They suggest that the chances of pregnancy both spontaneously or after assisted reproductive techniques are reduced when DNA fragmentation rates exceed 30%. Estimates have been made where it is said that more than 20% of the spermatograms reported as normal have high fragmentation (30%).

There are factors which are associated with an increase in sperm DNA fragmentation, these factors are the use of cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, sedentary lifestyles, obesity, age (men 40 years or older), clinical varicoceles, infections (urethritis ), viral and bacterial orchitis, diabetes, tumors and cancer treatments (radiotherapy, chemotherapy).

Diseases such as schizophrenia, autism, small malformations, cancer, could be related to increased sperm DNA fragmentation.

There are currently three methods on the market for performing sperm DNA fragmentation tests: SCSA, TUNEL, SCD.

At PROFERT (in vitro fertilization and perinatal medicine program), we do it using the (SCD) technique, which allows us to have a quick and easy diagnosis. This method assesses sperm DNA fragmentation in relation to the size of the chromatin scattering halo.

The sperm DNA fragmentation test is being established today as a clinical application tool to corroborate or not the result of the traditional spermatogram, modifying the way of working with the patient or rather, with the sperm, within the laboratory of assisted reproduction and thus improving our results.


Dr. Víctor Montes de Oca G. Gynecologist-Obstetrician Reproductive Medicine. Medical Director PROFERT