According to new research, sperm DNA damage may cause a few cases of repeated pregnancy loss.
1-2% of the couples face recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) that is defined as the loss of 3 or more pregnancies prior to 20 weeks gestation. “Affected women undergo many tests to determine the cause, but many cases have no identified cause,” said Dr. Channa Jayasena, the lead researcher. “However, we know that sperm play an important role in the formation of the placenta, which is critical for survival of an unborn baby,”
The study was intended to assess whether the male partners of women suffering from RPL had a greater risk of sperm DNA damage, that would impair fertility. Researchers made a comparison between fifty healthy men with partners who had not faced miscarriages and sixty-three men with partners affected by RPL. Levels of sex hormones were measured, for example, testosterone, the number or behavior of sperm using a microscope or some other additional molecular tests. Damage to the sperm DNA was also measured as well as the level of reactive oxygen species that damage cells like sperms in the semen.
The research concluded that those men which were affected by PRL had twice the amount of sperm DNA damage than the unaffected men. Men with partners that had suffered from miscarriages had four times greater amount of reactive oxygen species than with unaffected men.
“Our study suggests that it may be useful to investigate if male partners of women with RPL have abnormalities in their reproductive function,” Jayasena also said. “It also opens up a new potential ‘drug target’; it may be possible to design future drugs to stop sperm DNA damage to treat couples with RPL and reduce the risk of miscarriage.”