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Alessio: Sperm DNA fragmentation by TUNEL assay

WHAT IS SPERM DNA FRAGMENTATION?

The quality of the genetic information carried by the sperm is a determining factor in the development of a viable embryo. Sperm DNA fragmentation corresponds to “breaks” in the sperm’s genetic material that cannot be detected by conventional examinations. A high number of breaks reduces the chances that a pregnancy will be carried to term, and could be the cause of certain fertility problems.

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THE ALESSIO TEST

The Alessio sperm DNA fragmentation test uses fluorescent biomarkers to measure the proportion of sperm with fragmented DNA.

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WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO MEASURE THE FRAGMENTATION RATE?

Fragmentation is often seen after fertilization (meeting between egg and sperm). When the fragmentation is minimal, the egg sometimes has the capacity to repair the breaks, but beyond a certain threshold, the damage is irreparable and the embryo will fail to develop normally.    

 

WHY IS THIS TEST PRESCRIBED?

In general, this test is prescribed before patients undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) in order to determine the quality of the DNA contained in the sperm.

 

It is typically prescribed in the following cases: (1) unexplained infertility, (2) failed insemination or IVF attempts, (3) repeated miscarriages, (4) varicocele, and (5) risk factors (e.g., advanced age, smoking, obesity).

 

If the test shows that the DNA is fragmented beyond a certain threshold, your doctor will recommend various treatments to improve your chances of conceiving.

SAMPLING PROCEDURE

The patient must produce the sperm sample at the clinic. It is recommended that he abstain from sexual relations for 2-3 days before giving the sample.    

 

RESULTS

Results will be available in 15 business days.

COST

The cost of the test is $325.

REFERENCES

Zini A, Albert O, Robaire B. Assessing sperm chromatin and DNA damage: clinical importance and development of standards. Andrology. 2014;2(3):322-5.     Agarwal A, Majzoub A, Esteves SC, Ko E, Ramasamy R, Zini A. Clinical utility of sperm DNA fragmentation testing: practice recommendations based on clinical scenarios. Transl Androl Urol. 2016 Dec;5(6):935-950.