Information on Semen Analysis and DNA fragmentation
A semen analysis is the first line of testing for male fertility. This measures the quantity and basic functions of the sperm as follows:
- Volume: the ejaculate should be 2ml or more in volume
- Sperm count: this is the number of sperm and should be higher than 40 million sperm or 20 million sperm per ml
- Motility: this indicates how well the sperm can swim and over 50% of sperm should be good swimmers
- Morphology: this indicates that the sperm are well formed and not abnormal looking which might impede their ability to swim or penetrate the egg. There are usually a high number of abnormal forms in the sample, this is quite normal. Depending on how this is measured, the normal forms should be above 4% or perhaps higher than this depending on the lab
- Anti-sperm antibodies: these are antibodies that bind to the sperm which interferes with their function. It is important to have this below 50%
DNA Fragmentation Test
Sperm deliver paternal DNA to the egg during fertilisation. It is important that this DNA is of optimum quality to ensure the healthy development of the embryo and foetus. High levels of DNA fragmentation are linked with infertility and miscarriage.
Men with an abnormal semen analysis may have increased DNA fragmentation also. However, one in four men with a completely normal semen analysis will have increased DNA fragmentation.
We highly recommend carrying out this test along with the regular semen analysis at the initial investigation especially if there is a history of failed IVFs or miscarriage
There is good research from the medical literature to show that nutrition can have a huge impact on improving not only sperm quantity but also quality and motility. And that certain nutrients and changes in the diet, can reduce high levels of sperm DNA fragmentation.
Who should take this test?
- Anyone is trying to conceive
- Anyone who has already had a semen analysis but is still trying to conceive
- Men going through assisted reproduction; IUI, IVF, IVF/ICSI
- After failed attempts at assisted reproduction or recurrent miscarriages
- A semen analysis and DNA fragmentation test is carried out on the same semen sample
- We will give you a referral to have the test done
- The test results will be returned to your nutritionist. Test results will be interpreted by your nutritionist at the consultation and a protocol tailored accordingly.