Claudiu and Mia’s story
At the beginning of 2019, Mia became pregnant for the first time, but it ended in a miscarriage. We quickly got a positive pregnancy test again, but this also ended in a miscarriage.
In a very short time, we experienced 4 miscarriages, and we became worried that there might be something wrong with us.
Our doctor referred us to the Unit for Recurring Pregnancy Loss at Hvidovre Hospital. In the meantime, we tried to find an answer to the problem ourselves, which is how we heard about SPZ Lab.
My sperm quality had been tested before and it was top quality, but we thought that a supplementary test of the DNA might provide us with some important information. The result showed that my DFI was too high – in the category “very fragile” as it was 28.
Following a session with Preben, we learnt that it could be some pills used to treat hair loss, Propecia, that was contributing to the high DFI. So, I stopped taking the pills, and I also changed my diet a bit. After 3 months, my DFI had dropped to 17.
When we visited the Unit for Recurring Pregnancy Loss, they recommended that we take a DFI test. With couples who experience pregnancy loss, the man often has an elevated DFI. Luckily, this wasn’t the case, so we didn’t have to wait any longer.
Soon, Mia became pregnant again and, in 2021, she gave birth to our son, who is now 1.5 years old.
We are extremely grateful for the help and guidance we received from Preben and the team at SPZ Lab. We are convinced that my fragile DNA was a major factor in our repeated pregnancy losses.
Claudiu and Mia
Søren’s and Mirah’s report
At the end of 2017, we had tried to have a child for more than 6 years. We had gone through numerous fertility treatments at various fertility clinics without success. Not one single pregnancy test had been positive, and we were both struggling with grief and frustration.
As a man, I had always been told that my sperm quality was great.
Therefore, my wife was always” the suspect” when a treatment failed. Mirah is a little older than me and was 35 years old when we started the treatment.
In 2017 she had turned 41 and felt guilty when looking for an explanation of a disappointing result.
As a last desperate attempt to have a baby, we were considering egg donation and started treatment at the fertility clinic Vitanova in Copenhagen. The doctor explained during the consultation that further examination of my sperm was necessary since the problem could be due to fragile DNA in my sperm.
I was surprised having to get tested again, as the earlier results had shown very good sperm quality. The explanation, though, was simple: The standard semen analysis only provides information about the sperm count and the swimming ability of the sperm (percentage of motile sperm). However, the DNA of the sperm is not examined.
The doctor said that if the DNA of the sperm was not robust, it would be extra difficult to achieve a pregnancy. At the same time, there is an additional risk of a miscarriage. The robustness cannot be examined in a microscope. Therefore, it was necessary do the SDI®-test from SPZ Lab.
The result of the test showed that the DNA in my sperm was very fragile. The DFI value (DFI = DNA Fragility Index) was 26 which meant that my fertility was severely reduced!
I was quite shocked, but Preben Christensen from SPZ Lab explained that it probably would be possible to improve my fertility.
The recommendations, among others, were reduction of sugar consumption (sodas, Red Bull and beer), extension of fitness training and quitting smoking.
My diet was also to be improved, less meat and more vegetables. White bread should be replaced by dark multigrain ryebread, and I should take a multivitamin pill plus fish oil on a daily basis.
I must admit that I was somewhat sceptical. On the other hand, I was mega motivated and started the project.
After 3 months a new test showed that the DFI value had fallen to 7 and was now completely normal! Unexpectedly, it also turned out that Mirah was pregnant!
But the happiness was short-lived, as it ended in a spontaneous abortion. That was a big disappointment, but Preben explained that the DFI probably had been approximately 20 when the fertilization took place. The risk of spontaneous abortion increases with a DFI over 15.
We spent a couple of months getting over the disappointment. I stuck by the improved lifestyle.
We considered starting fertility treatment, but in December 2018 the miracle occurred once again: Mirah was pregnant. Again, the pregnancy was achieved all naturally!
For the longest time we had split feelings, a mixture of joy and fear – being so worried about losing the baby. Only in May when Mirah was 5 months pregnant, did we feel more secure.
In the middle of June, we had the courage to inform our parents. On 27th September 2019, Mirah gave birth to a wonderful, healthy girl – Isabella.
Personally, I don’t think we would have had Isabella unless the doctor at Vitanova had referred me to SPZ Lab. I hope our story can help other couples.
A warm thank you to SPZ Lab and Preben for help and competent guidance!
Søren and Mirah, Copenhagen, Denmark
Louise’s and Lars’ report
For some years we have tried to conceive a child. We have gone through an incredibly rough period with more abortions, and we have lost a little stillborn girl. Therefore, we were about to lose hope of ever having a child.
We were aware that Lars had reduced sperm quality and that we on this background needed help to have a child.
In the beginning of 2017, we heard of a fertility fair taking place in Copenhagen and we decided to attend. At this fair we heard a presentation by Preben Christensen from SPZ Lab on DNA damage in sperm.
After the presentation we contacted Preben and presented our history to him. When we lost our daughter, we were later informed that she died from a rare disease (Costello’s Syndrome), that is caused by new mutations.
Preben informed us that our daughter’s death could be due to damage of the DNA in Lars’ sperm. The damage occurs when the DNA of the sperm is not sufficiently tightly packed and therefore fragile. Subsequently, Lars had an SDI®-test taken that showed that the DNA of his sperm was very fragile.
Lars completed the questionnaire from SPZ Lab. Since Lars had a healthy lifestyle, the suspicion was directed to a dietary supplement he had taken over more years. Blood tests showed a too high content of various vitamins. The message from SPZ Lab was therefore that Lars immediately had to stop taking that dietary supplement, since that could influence the DNA of the sperm.
Lars then stopped taking that dietary supplement and 3 months later, we had a positive pregnancy test!
We will never be able to be 100 % sure if the dietary supplement caused our lack of success in getting pregnant without help or if it caused our losses after achieving pregnancy by fertility treatment.
Today we are happy to have met Preben and the knowledge he and his team possess. Now we got have our fantastic little Frederik! Who knows if we had had him unless we had met Preben.
Louise and Lars Karkov, Århus, Denmark