After conducting a review of 24 scientific papers about infertility in obese men, a group of Australian researchers from the University of Adelaide is suggesting that the panel of routine tests performed on male infertility patients should be expanded to include tests for sperm DNA fragmentation.
Infertility is diagnosed when a couple is unable to get pregnant after a year of trying to do so. Male infertility is the primary cause in roughly 20 percent of cases and a contributing factor in another 30 percent. Hormonal issues, genetic factors, infection, chemotherapy, environmental toxins, medications, and physical issues like a varicocele, blocked duct or ejaculation problem can all result in difficulties with fertility. Treatments include identifying and treating any underlying medical issues, lifestyle changes, medications switches, surgery, and sperm retrieval for use in procedures like in vitro fertilization.
“The ultimate question when deciding on whether additional expensive testing should be implemented in a routine infertility evaluation is, will it change our management of the couple?” explains Dr. Parviz Kavoussi, an award-winning specialist in male infertility who is unconvinced of the benefit of additional testing. “The standard parameters examined in a typical semen analysis include semen pH, semen volume, sperm concentration, sperm motility and sperm morphology. All these factors play a large, established role in the evaluation of male fertility and help us counsel couples on their odds of succeeding with various levels of treatment. But, while testing for sperm DNA fragmentation can be valuable in certain circumstances, we already know that obese men are less fertile in comparison to their normal-weight peers. Regardless of any additional testing, we should already be counseling these men to lose weight. If there are other factors we can identify to eliminate potential causes of DNA fragmentation, we should aim to do so. Such testing may be valuable in certain circumstances, but as of now, is not considered to be warranted for the routine fertility evaluation.”
The American Society of Reproductive Medicine does not recommend including an evaluation of sperm DNA fragmentation as part of the routine testing performed in cases of male infertility.
A recognized expert in reproductive urology, Dr. Parviz Kavoussi practices at Austin Fertility and Reproductive Medicine/Westlake IVF, central Texas’ only fertility center with in-house fellowship-trained specialists in male and female infertility and reproductive medicine. Board certified by the American Board of Urology, he offers medical and surgical treatments for male infertility, including varicocele repairs, sperm retrievals and mini-incision microscopic vasectomy reversals.
For a personal consultation with Dr. Kavoussi regarding male infertility, contact Austin Fertility and Reproductive Medicine/Westlake IVF at (512) 444-1414.