Sperm DNA test

Male fertility test to analyse sperm quality

This test to examines DNA damage that may be behind unexplained infertility

What is sperm DNA damage?

Half of the genetic information to make us is delivered by the sperm to the egg. It takes around two months for a mature sperm to be made and during this time the DNA of the sperm may become damaged.

A number of different tests can be to assess the level of DNA damage in your sperm. There is some evidence for a relationship between sperm DNA damage and the outcome of fertility treatment. However, the evidence is conflicting and depends on the type of test used by the fertility clinic.

Are there any risks?

Sperm DNA damage testing is a non-invasive procedure performed on a semen sample, usually before treatment as an additional diagnostic test.

There are no significant additional risks to the patient.

Lister Fertility Clinic's opinion

There are a number of tests for sperm integrity that have been used to assess levels of DNA damage. The one most widely researched that we have chosen to use is the Sperm COMET test.

Studies have demonstrated a longer time to natural conception and lower IUI/IVF success rate in those with higher sperm DNA damage levels even with normal sperm numbers (Bungum et al, AJA 2013).

 We therefore consider sperm DNA testing in those with otherwise unexplained cause of subfertility as this may play a factor to help guide need for treatment and also treatment choice (i.e. recommend ICSI if damage levels high). Our data confirms an inferior IVF success rate in these couples which is corrected by ICSI unless the levels are particularly high at which point we recommend a urological opinion to assess for any underlying cause (Nicopoullos et al, BFS 2018).

Evidence of a link to recurrent miscarriage has also led to a recommendation to consider testing also in these scenarios (ESHRE guideline, Recurrent Miscarriage 2016).


Our team

We work with leading fertility experts across a range of medical fields, including gynaecology and urology.

That means you’ll be supported by a whole team of experts, from consultants, embryologists and sonographers to counsellors and experienced fertility-trained nurse practitioners.

Our locations

From complex diagnostics test to imaging scans, we provide exceptional diagnostic services across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Get in touch

If you want to book an appointment with one of our fertility specialists, or if you have any questions about how we can help, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. 

You can also book an appointment at one of our fertility clinics. Simply click the links below, or call our team on: 020 7881 2000


Request an appointment at Lister Fertility Clinic, Chelsea

Request an appointment at Lister Fertility Clinic, The Portland Hospital

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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