Sperm with Broken DNA may cause some repeat miscarriages


Semen abnormalities suggest a daddy’s health Has to Be considered in such pregnancy losses

sperm heading for an egg

IT TAKES TWO  Recurrent miscarriages are connected to abnormalities in semen, and investigators report, suggesting that men’s reproductive health might be a variable.

NEW ORLEANS — For couples that have suffered repeated miscarriages, it may be useful to scrutinize the man’s reproductive health as closely as the lady’s. Some miscarriages could be associated with abnormalities in semen, a study finds.  

Researchers analyzed semen from 49 guys whose spouses had missing three or more consecutive pregnancies before the 20-week markers. The men had sperm with more than two times as much DNA damage and over four times the amount of specific harmful molecules known as reactive oxygen species as samples from healthy men who had been screened for some fertility issues,  researchers reported March 24 in the Endocrine Society’s yearly meeting.

After repeated miscarriages,”historically clinicians have focused on the woman with some health issue,” says endocrinologist Bradley Anawalt of the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle who wasn’t involved in the study. The new study indicates that”perhaps the man is contributing something that is leading to premature pregnancy reduction on a regular basis,” he states.

Recurrent pregnancy loss has traditionally been characterized as the loss of 3 or more pregnancies in a row before the 20per week. Based on that definition, about 1 to 2% of couples experience the condition, even though this estimate is based on epidemiological studies that are limited and decades old.

Cases of recurrent pregnancy loss can be followed to chromosomal abnormalities or health issues in the mother like hormone or blood-clotting ailments. However, in up to 50 percent of cases, no explanation is found. Initial signs points to unhealthy sperm as maybe behind several unexplained scenarios.

Past research has suggested that sperm play a role in the creation of the placenta, the correct functioning of that”is absolutely critical in preventing miscarriage,” says reproductive endocrinologist Channa Jayasena of Imperial College London.

However in terms of quantifying sperm quality,”traditionally we have looked our microscope and we’ve explained how many sperm are still there, how many of the semen are going and how many of them look very great — and that is extremely subjective,” Jayasena says. To identify more goal markers, he and his colleagues measured the quantity of reactive oxygen species in the semen samples — high levels of the molecules can damage DNA — and breaks in the sperm DNA.

The following next steps would be to examine how some guys develop the abnormalities, Jayasena says, and figure out the way the defects might cause miscarriages.

Get Science News headlines through e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index

Paid Content


    Related Articles