What is SpermComet® DNA Fragmentation? SpermComet® measures the amount of damage in every single sperm and is so sensitive that it detects damage in 70 percent of men with normal semen analysis. This makes it really useful for couples with unexplained infertility, recurrent miscarriage, after a failed cycle of IVF, or if the man has previously been ill, on medication or has changed his lifestyle.
Why? One in six couples have difficulty having a baby; in 40% of these cases, the difficulty is associated with the male. Most couples trying for a baby are probably all familiar with the term ‘sperm count’, which deals with the quantity of sperm. However, what many of us know less about is sperm quality, in other words, Sperm DNA. Sperm DNA is one of the most important factors when it comes to conceiving.
What causes sperm damage? Sperm quality can be seriously affected by things like stress, smoking, alcohol, recreational drugs, obesity and other avoidable lifestyle factors. Even healthy sperm have some DNA damage, but it’s the amount of damage that matters. Higher levels of Sperm DNA damage can be a factor where couples have been trying for a baby for some time without success and where there is no obvious explanation why. It can also be a major factor where couples have been successful conceiving but have suffered a number of miscarriages.
How you can benefit from the SpermComet®? The important thing is, when we know the level of sperm DNA damage, we can help couples make better decisions about the right lifestyle choices and fertility treatment for them. For example, with moderate damage, IVF might be the best treatment to try. If the damage is high, then the best chance of success might be going straight to ICSI treatment.
How we test for Sperm DNA Damage? Conventional semen analysis is an important part of fertility testing as it tells us about the number of sperm present (concentration), how well it swims (motility) and the shape and size of the sperm (morphology). However, it does not tell us anything about sperm DNA damage, which requires another type of test: a Sperm DNA Fragmentation Test. This type of test goes beyond the semen analysis to explore the sperm at a molecular level. The most sensitive of these tests is the SpermComet®.