Sperm DNA fragmentation: paternal effect on early post-implantation embryo development in ART
Borini, A.; Tarozzi, N.; Bizzaro, D.; Bonu, M.A.; Fava, L.; Flamigni, C.; Coticchio, G.
Human Reproduction 21(11): 2876-2881
The relationship between early embryo post-implantation development in couples undergoing assisted reproductive techniques (ARTs) and sperm chromatin alterations has not been satisfactorily explained. The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between sperm DNA fragmentation in IVF/ICSI patients, sperm parameters (concentration, motility and morphology) and ART outcome, especially with regard to clinical pregnancy and pregnancy loss (spontaneous miscarriage or biochemical pregnancy). DNA fragmentation was evaluated by TUNEL assay, performed on sperm suspensions after density gradient separation, in 132 men undergoing an ART cycle (82 IVF and 50 ICSI) and correlated with sperm parameters and ART outcome. A highly significant negative correlation was found between DNA fragmentation and sperm parameters. There was a close relationship between DNA fragmentation and post-implantation development in ICSI patients: the clinical pregnancy and pregnancy loss rates significantly differed between patients with high and low sperm DNA fragmentation (P = 0.007 and P = 0.009, respectively). Sperm DNA fragmentation seems to affect embryo post-implantation development in ICSI procedures: high sperm DNA fragmentation can compromise 'embryo viability', resulting in pregnancy loss.