Give birth to a healthier child

It is a well-known fact that the age of the mother has an influence on chromosome abnormalities. This can lead to children being born with conditions such as Down’s syndrome.

The latest research indicates that the father also has an influence on the child’s health. Mutations in the child can lead to illnesses such as schizophrenia and autism. New studies have shown that 94% of these mutations come from the father.

Damage to sperm DNA is a likely cause

Reduced fertility is the most common problem associated with damage to sperm DNA. Either pregnancy becomes impossible or there is a miscarriage.

A less common problem is that the damage to the sperm DNA does not stop the fertilised egg from developing. In such cases, a miscarriage does not occur, but the child is born with some damage to its DNA. This type of damage is called a mutation.

The reasons for these mutations are currently being discussed at a scientific level. In theory there are many possibilities, but the most likely reason is a problem with sperm DNA integrity.

An increasing problem

In recent decades we have seen a rise in neurological disorders among children. For some illnesses such as ADHD, the reason could be increased awareness of the condition. However, the tendency for schizophrenia is clear to see: Between 1976 and 1998, the annual number of new cases in Denmark doubled.

For the latest generations, it has been estimated that around 5% of children will be diagnosed with at least one neurological disorder before the age of 20.

Higher risks linked to fertility treatment

The latest research published in 2015 indicates that neurological disorders are also linked to fertility treatment. Here the frequency is a little higher than with natural pregnancies.

With fertility treatment, around 6% of children are likely to be diagnosed with at least one neurological disorder before the age of 20.

One conclusion might be that the fertility treatment itself increases the risk. However, there is a far more likely explanation: There is a link between reduced fertility and the risk of having a child with a neurological disorder.

Robust DNA reduces risk

The good news is that we can do something about it.

If the sperm DNA is robust, it is less likely that it will be damaged before the egg is fertilised. This means that there are very good reasons for improving sperm DNA integrity.

This is why SPZ Lab recommends that the man focuses on improving his DNA integrity for at least 3 months before the conception. 3 months is the amount of time it takes to produce new sperm. This will also help to improve your chances of pregnancy!

Dr. Declan Egan

Dr. Declan Egan, Galway Fertility, Ireland

At Galway Fertility we recommend to all couples that the sperm DNA integrity is tested prior to any fertility treatment. In many cases the couple can avoid treatments which are unlikely to succeed and thus saves time as well as money.
Dr. Declan Egan

How to improve DNA inteegrity

When DNA integrity needs to be improved, it is important to take a systematic approach so that all possible causes can be taken into account. SPZ Lab recommends the use of a questionnaire to make sure that all causes are detected.