Male Fertility: How is Sperm Health linked to Infertility & Miscarriage Risk?

Male Fertility: How is Sperm Health linked to Infertility & Miscarriage Risk?

Sperm Health Fertility Test

The health and quality of sperm plays a crucial role in reproductive success and whilst not always the sole contributing factor in miscarriage, any abnormalities in sperm parameters have the potential to increase the risk of an implantation failure, or cause a developing embryo to be compromised, leading to a higher risk of miscarriage.  Sperm health parameters should also be considered for couples who are experiencing recurrent miscarriage.

This is why, if you are struggling to conceive, or to carry a pregnancy to term, it is important that the man seek a preconception analysis and related sperm health tests to ensure the quality and health of their sperm prior to conception. 

Addressing sperm health concerns through lifestyle modifications, dietary changes, antioxidant supplementation, and medical interventions can help improve sperm quality and reduce the risk of miscarriage. 

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How does Sperm Health Influence Miscarriage Risk

It is important to understand how the health of sperm can potentially impact the ability to conceive and have a successful pregnancy. The impact of each assessed sperm health parameter is outlined below:: . 

  • Genetic abnormalities: Sperm carry half of the genetic material necessary for embryo development. If sperm have genetic abnormalities, such as chromosomal abnormalities or DNA fragmentation, they can contribute to the formation of embryos with genetic defects. These abnormalities may prevent normal embryo development, leading to miscarriage.

  • Sperm motility: Motility refers to the ability of sperm to move effectively through the female reproductive tract to fertilise an egg. Low sperm motility can hinder the sperm's ability to reach and penetrate the egg, reducing the likelihood of successful fertilisation. In cases where fertilisation does occur, poor sperm motility may be indicative of underlying sperm health issues that could compromise embryo development and increase the risk of miscarriage.

  • Sperm morphology: Sperm morphology refers to the size, shape, and structure of sperm cells. Abnormal sperm morphology, characterised by irregularly shaped or structurally flawed sperm, can impair the sperm's ability to fertilise an egg and support normal embryo development. Research suggests that higher percentages of abnormal sperm morphology are associated with an increased risk of miscarriage.

  • Sperm DNA integrity: Sperm DNA integrity is crucial for transmitting genetic information to the embryo accurately. Damage to sperm DNA, such as DNA fragmentation caused by oxidative stress or environmental factors, can lead to genetic abnormalities in the embryo. These abnormalities may result in either implantation failure or early pregnancy loss.

  • Sperm count: Sperm count refers to the concentration of sperm present in a semen sample. Low sperm count, known as ‘oligozoospermia’, can reduce the chances of successful fertilisation and increase the risk of miscarriage. However, the relationship between sperm count and miscarriage risk may not be as straightforward as other sperm parameters.

  • Underlying health conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as infections, hormonal imbalances, varicocele, and lifestyle factors like smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and obesity, can negatively impact sperm health and increase the risk of miscarriage.

For couples experiencing recurrent miscarriage, we recommend you seek evaluation by a Fertility Consultant to help assess and understand sperm health and any other potential factors,, prior to exploring appropriate treatment options, which can then be tailored to their specific needs.

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What Sperm Tests are available? 

Chromosome Analysis 

A test that helps us scan for any abnormalities with your chromosomes, recommended for recurrent miscarriages, failed IVF treatments, or when you are planning pre-implementation genetic testing.

Can be performed at home or in-clinic with samples sent for analysis at our laboratory.

Sperm DNA  Fragmentation Test 

This test assesses damage to the sperm cell’s DNA structure which may interfere with its ability to properly fertilise an egg cell and help it develop into a healthy, thriving embryo leading to miscarriage.

Test At Home - Sperm Count & Motility

A quick and simple test to help you assess your sperm count and motility in the comfort and privacy of your own home, with results ready in 15 minutes. Includes 2x tests or 5x tests to assess the progression of your sperm health. 

Hormonal Profile

A test performed at home that helps us to assess why you have low sperm counts, no sperm in the ejaculate or decreased libido. 

Recurrent Miscarriage Profile

The recurrent miscarriage profile forms part of an advanced fertility workup that includes tests on your chromosomes (and Sperm DNA fragmentation tests - to be ordered separately). These tests are also valuable for those who have had unsuccessful IVF treatments.

Semen Analysis | Spermiogram
Basic or Advanced

This test is performed to determine the count, shape and motility of the sperm and includes a Semen Culture Test to see if infection in the semen is negatively affecting fertility. 

Semen Culture Test

This test aims to help you determine if there are common infection-causing microorganisms present in your semen - a vital, yet often overlooked first step before specific fertility treatments.

Which Test do I Need?

If you have not been referred or advised to take a particular test and are unsure which test may be best for you, please contact IVF Matters for further clarification, advice and information.

You may wish to book a FREE Advisory Call or a Consultation with our Fertility Specialist. All IVF Matters Male Fertility Tests include a Clinical Review by Dr Irfana Koita, who will explain your results to you and provide advice on what lifestyle improvements are needed or which further investigations, if any, may need to be considered. 

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