What is normal sperm DNA fragmentation?

Average Sperm DNA Fragmentation is the average percentage of DNA fragmentation per sperm in the semen sample. If your result falls within 0 – 31%, you are within the fertile range. If your result falls between 31 – 100%, you are outside of the fertile range and have an increased risk of infertility.

How to Test for Sperm DNA Fragmentation?

DNA is the hereditary material in humans and other organisms and consists of two long chains—DNA strands—that are coiled around each other, each made of sugars and phosphate. The information in DNA is stored as a code made up of four types of molecules called bases, which are attached to the DNA strands like rungs on a ladder. Although all humans have the same bases, the order of these bases determines the information available for building and maintaining an organism. Just as different combinations of letters create different words and sentences, the unique sequence of these bases makes your DNA different. Sperm DNA fragmentation occurs when there is a change in the bases or a physical break in one or both of the DNA strands of the chromosomes contained within the sperm.  

Why Would Sperm DNA Fragmentation Testing Be Useful? 

While a semen analysis is still the most commonly used test in the workup for male infertility, research has shown that the results of semen analysis tests cannot reliably predict whether a male is fertile or if a pregnancy will occur with infertility treatment. As a result, clinicians and researchers have looked for other ways to determine whether or not a male is fertile.  

Successful embryo development requires, among other things, undamaged DNA from both the egg and sperm. Studies have shown that sperm DNA damage is more common in infertile men and may contribute to poor reproductive outcomes. A significant proportion of men with infertility have also been found to have increased DNA fragmentation despite having normal semen analysis results. These associations have led to the testing of DNA integrity as another method of assessing fertility potential.