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DNA Fragmentation Testing

All About Sperm DNA Fragmentation Test

What is DNA fragmentation?

DNA fragmentation describes the process of DNA strands separating into pieces. It can occur normally, or laboratory personnel can do it intentionally. The accumulation of fragmentation that occurs in a cell refers to spontaneous DNA fragmentation. The TUNEL assay and Comet assay can measure it. The level of sperm DNA fragmentation is often high in men who have a defect of sperm mobility. The prediction of outcomes for IVF depends on the degree of the sperm cell’s DNA fragmentation. In the sperm, the integrity of genetic material is a determining factor to make the fertilization successful. It is also essential for the development of a normal embryo.

The usage of the term sperm DNA fragmentation denotes abnormal genetic material in a sperm. It can cause IVF failure, male subfertility, and miscarriages. The assessment of the sperm DNA cannot be done by the conventional semen analysis.
In the market, there are many sperm DNA fragmentation tests are available like the Sperm Comet test, SCSA, and TUNEL.

Everything You Need to Know About DNA fragmentation

Causes | How Test Performed | Test Results | Who should | Benefits | Treatment Option

What can sperm DNA fragmentation lead to?

  • It can affect the development of a blastocyst.
  • It can increase the chance of miscarriage
  • And can result in the failure of assisted conception treatment.

It has been seen that subfertile men with abnormal sperm parameters have a higher range of sperm DNA fragmentation, but it can also happen to men with normal sperm parameters.

What causes DNA fragmentation?

Oxidative stress has one of the major contributions to sperm DNA fragmentation. If the antioxidants do not neutralize the free radicals and unpaired electrons, it can cause built-up damage and results in oxidative stress. Infections, use of drugs, smoking, and exposure to pollutants, illness, diabetes, cancer and elevated testicular temperature can have an association with sperm DNA fragmentation.

It also has a relation with obesity and poor diet. Sometimes, the body is unable to repair the occurrence of a break-in DNA as it lacks the sufficient protein that helps in binding the DNA to keep it compact. In this condition, Sperm DNA fragmentation occurs.

How the DNA fragmentation test is performed?

The different Sperm DNA fragmentation tests include the deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling assay (TUNEL), the sperm chromatin dispersion test (SCD), the sperm chromatin structure assay (SCSA), and single-cell gel electrophoresis assay (COMET).

These tests verify DNA damage in the sample of semen. The procedure occurs in the outside laboratory and the semen sample is the primary matter here.

Understanding DNA test results

The understanding of DNA fragmentation test results is important. The meaning of high sperm DNA damage is the poor quality of sperm. Low sperm DNA damage shows the good quality of the sperm. In the exact test result, you will get to see a comparison between the three different indicators of DNA fragmentation and a fertile reference range.

Who should undergo this test?

There were many studies and investigations on the DNA fragmentation test. But the conclusion of the 2013 American Society for Reproductive Medicine Practice (ASRM) was that they don’t have sufficient data to support the relationship between reproductive outcomes and the increased DNA fragmentation. Only DNA fragmentation testing cannot predict the rates of pregnancy.

Benefits of DNA fragmentation test

There are a lot of benefits of DNA fragmentation tests. This test gives information about the arrested embryo development, recurrent miscarriage, unexplained infertility, varicocele, harmful substance exposure, failure in multiple treatments of in vitro fertilization, development of poor blastocyst, poor semen parameters.

What are treatment options in case of increased DNA Fragmentation?

Once you know the results, we can choose a way of treatment to correct it. If free radicals are the reason behind it, you can change your diet and lifestyle to decrease the DNA fragmentation levels. Other than this, antibiotics can help in the co-existing infection. You can include fresh foods in your diet along with foods that contain vitamin C, vitamin E, and antioxidants. You also need to quit smoking and consuming drugs. One should opt for ICSI. If you do the DNA fragmentation test, then you get to know about treatments to cure it.

Conclusion

In the workup for infertile males, the most used test is semen analysis. The research does not show that we can only rely on this test for the prediction of the fertility of men, or it can ensure the occurrence of the pregnancy with the treatment of infertility.

For the determination of the fertilizing capacity of men, researchers and clinicians find other ways. The requirement for developing a successful embryo is undamaged DNA from the sperm and egg. In infertile men, sperm DNA damage is more and can cause poor reproductive outcomes. So, doctors also assess fertility potential by testing DNA integrity.

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Abhishek Parashar

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Hi, I and my wife Garima got married in 2013, and it's been 7.5 years since we had no children. We went to three-four doctors before visiting Gunjan IVF world. Then we went to Gunjan IVF center, where Doctor Gunjan ma’am guided us so friendly and she advised us to go for IVF. With their positive hands, we cracked in the first go and now we are blessed with twins. Especially, the team is too very cooperative they give you an environment which makes you feel very positive and comforting

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We started the treatment with Dr. Gunjan in the year 2018 when my wife had an ectopic pregnancy. The key thing in this relationship was that we trusted the doctor blindly and the doctor also put their best efforts to help us in getting the good news. Hope everything will go positively. Thank you, doctor. Last but not least, Mr. Gaurav, the COO of Dr. Gunjan Hospital, is the biggest reason to have this long association with the doctor and the treatment. Always got positive thoughts and suggestions from him and they helped a lot. Thank you, Gaurav Ji.

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Had a great experience with Dr. Gunjan. We visited the clinic as we had some queries regarding the conception process. Dr. Gunjan listened to the queries and answered all those with patience. And we had good news at the next consultation itself. Dr. Gunjan is very experienced, is soft-spoken, and very diligent with the process. Highly recommended!

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From the very depth of my heart, I would really love to thank my most excellent Dr. Gujan and her team whose guidance actually helped me a lot more than that I would like to give my gratitude to the most outstanding counselor (Ms. Nivedita) for all her counseling. It was actually possible with her help that I could take a perfect decision for my own self. Thank you for valuable counseling which actually provided inner strength to go for Gujan Mam. It’s not been long that I have been attached to the clinic but it makes me feel like an extended family of mine.

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Dr. Gunjan Gupta Govil

MRCOG(UK), MD(Gynae) – Founder & Director

She is a Gynaecologist with specialization in IVF, Infertility & Laparoscopy specialist doctor and has close to 2 decades of experience in treating Infertility, performing Gynae Laparoscopy (Keyhole Surgeries) & Handing high risk Pregnancies. She is a noted speaker in National and International level conferences and has also chaired various sessions on Infertility

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