How to achieve better DNA quality

Up until a few years ago it was commonly believed that male fertility could not be changed. It was also thought that DNA could not be affected by our lifestyle and the environment. We now know that both of these claims were wrong.

When something affects our DNA, all the cells in our body are affected! If sperm cell DNA is affected, it is also possible that other cells in the body are in a poor condition.

It has been known for a long time that men with reduced fertility are also at risk of serious illness later on in life. This includes conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and different types of cancer. Men with reduced fertility also are at risk of dying earlier than other men.

The good news is that we can now do something about this!

By improving DNA quality, you can improve fertility and also reduce the risk of becoming seriously ill later on in life. On top of this, more robust DNA will help to improve the health of your child.

What affects DNA?

There are many factors which can affect our DNA. The impact of the different factors varies from person to person. These days, people are looking more and more at epigenetics, which involves all the factors that can influence our DNA.

Your DNA can be affected by what you eat, if you smoke, if you drink too much alcohol, or exercise regularly. A long list of other factors also comes into play. This includes vitamins and minerals, air pollution, and some types of medicine.

The questionnaire helps identify the causes

SPZ Lab has collected information from all men tested since 2006. At the beginning, we were not that systematic, but we soon found out that all possible factors have to be taken into account in order to see a significant improvement in DNA quality. For this reason we decided to introduce a questionnaire so that we could cover all possible factors for all patients.

Sometimes you can be tempted to believe that only the most obvious problems need to be dealt with. This can lead to other factors being overlooked and results that are not as good as expected.

When you have taken the SDI-test and filled in the questionnaire, we will make a detailed personal recommendation. This will give you the chance to do something about all factors and achieve the best possible result.

DNA integrity and DFI

The SDI-test examines the sperm DNA integrity. When the integrity is good, the sperm DNA is robust and is unlikely to become damaged. When the integrity is suboptimal or poor the sperm DNA is fragile and it may therefor become damaged before the egg is fertilised. The result of the SDI-test is the DFI value (DFI stands for DNA Fragility Index). DFI varies from 0 to 100: A low DFI means that the DNA is robust. A high DFI means that the DNA is fragile.

Robust DNA:
DFI is below 15. The integrity of the sperm DNA is good.

Moderate DNA fragility:
DFI is between 15 and 25. The integrity of the sperm DNA is suboptimal.

High DNA fragility:
DFI is above 25. The integrity of the sperm DNA is poor.

Half of the involuntarily childless men have robust DNA.
A quarter has moderate DNA fragility.
The remaining quarter have high DNA fragility.

3 in 4 men can improve their DNA integrity

Many fertility clinics use the SDI-test regularly and place a lot of focus on doing something about the possible causes of suboptimal or poor DNA integrity. Galway Fertility in Ireland is one of these clinics. In 2014, the clinic published their first results at the Irish Fertility Society Conference. Even though the study only consisted of 27 patients, the results were very clear. 3 in 4 men have achieved a statistically significant improvement in their sperm DNA integrity. This also had a noticeable effect on fertility treatment.

Dr. Declan Keane

Dr. Declan Keane, ReproMed, Dublin, Ireland

SPZ Lab has performed the test for sperm DNA integrity for ReproMed since 2010. The SDI-test is a valuable help for us to guide the couples to the best possible fertility treatment.
Dr. Declan Keane

Abstract from Irish Fertility Society Conference

The results from Galway Fertility were published at the Irish Fertility Society Conference in 2014. Several couples achieved pregnancy spontaneously or in connection with their first fertility treatment.

Regular routine at Galway Fertility

Dr. Declan Egan and his team at Galway Fertility have recommended the SDI-test to all couples since 2009. They also consistently try to improve the man’s fertility if there are problems with the DNA integrity.