Dr. Parviz Kavoussi, male fertility specialist answers the question, “Is there a gold standard in male infertility evaluation?”
The conventional semen analysis has been the cornerstone of the male fertility evaluation, and it is useful in many circumstances but is far from a perfect predictor of male fertility potential. There has been a focus over the last decade to bring functional sperm testing to the forefront of clinical practice, but robust scientific support is required to do so. The only adjunct test to the conventional semen analysis with enough data in the research to bring it to clinical use is the sperm DNA fragmentation (SDF) testing, which is offered through the Westlake IVF andrology laboratory. High levels of SDF have been associated with lower fertilization rates, lower pregnancy rates, and higher miscarriage rates. Most believe this test will be offered more widely in the future as there is more scientific data coming out all of the time to further support its use, but it is currently primarily recommended for infertile men with varicoceles (abnormally dilated veins around the testicle) which are well known to increase SDF, in male partners of couples with recurrent pregnancy losses (2 or more miscarriages), and in cases of unexpectedly poor IVF outcomes with healthy eggs. To read more on SDF, click here.