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Why can’t we get pregnant?

By, Christine Wilson, PhD, ANP-BC, FNP-B
May 16, 2022

Well, it takes two to Tango and while much attention is paid to the woman as a vessel, historically there has been less attention paid to the male in the fertility partnership. Did you know 50% of the time the answer lies with the male?

OK, so if pregnancy hasn’t happened in 12 months of trying, it is always recommended that the male have a standard sperm test.  This lets you know the sperm count (number of sperm in your sample), sperm concentration (number of sperm/milli-liter measured within your sample), and sperm motility (percent of moving sperm in your sample).  You should try to get a test that also includes sperm morphology (size and shape of the sperm).  That is all routine – but does it give you the answer you are looking for?

Want to know what else you can do?  There are also three other technologies that have been around for a while but haven’t gained traction. Two are mentioned in the American Urology Association guidelines for The Diagnosis and Treatment of Infertility in Men, but only for use after having no pregnancy with assisted reproductive technology cycles or recurrent pregnancy losses (RPL) (two or more losses prior to 20 weeks gestation): only 1% of couples suffer from RPL.1  

These are DNA Fragmentation and Sperm Aneuploidy Test.  DNA fragmentation test looks for breaks in the double stranded DNA and DNA integrity,2 and the Sperm Aneuploidy Test evaluates for abnormal number of chromosomes in haploids 13, 18, 21, X, and Y by FISH.3  

A test not mentioned in the guidelines is a CAP-Score. This test uses fluorescent microscopy to measure sperm’s ability to penetrate (capacitate) the egg.  

So what is next?  It is here now!  On October 18, 2021 Path Fertility launched SpermQTTM. Path Fertility sought to raise the standard of care for male fertility testing by providing critical new information about sperm quality that can predict fertility potential and guide treatment planning. 

Path SpermQT is an epigenetic sperm quality test that analyzes sperm quality based on epigenetic patterns.  Epigenetics can impact the path to pregnancy, even when a semen analysis is within normal range5.  Unlike the current standard semen analysis, this breakthrough epigenetic technology provides a molecular, DNA-based profile of epigenetic quality factors and assesses the sperm’s ability to fertilize the egg once it gets there.  

DNA methylation is looking at the literal addition of methyl groups that sit on top of the DNA itself that can modify the functionality and expression of the gene.  With methylation, there may not be any breaks or loss of integrity in the DNA (which is what a fragmentation test would look for) but there are methyl groups sitting on top of the DNA itself (circled).  These methylation groups can alter sperm performance. 

Figure used by permission of author: Carrell, D.T. 6

Knowing this valuable information ahead of time means couples can save time and money while improving pregnancy rates by moving on to treatments that are more likely to succeed.  SpermQTTM is 6 times more predictive of pregnancy than standard semen analysis7 and the test is done at home!

Is this a test that might help you before you spend money on expensive treatments?  If so, what are you waiting for?  Oh yes, how do you get the test?  It is easy!


Meenta wants to help you do just that. We believe in providing ACCESS to validated tests to every Individual, Healthcare Provider & Organization. Our goal is to empower the end user. Take charge of your fertility journey today by ordering your test here, or calling customer service at 1-888-204-5303.  Also, be sure to stay connected with us on LinkedIn!


Sources:

1https://www.auanet.org/guidelines/guidelines/male-infertility

2(scsadiagnostics.com

3(igenomix.com/our-services/sat/

4(androvialifesciences.com).

5https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/and.13586

6Carrell, D.T. (2019). The Sperm Epigenome: Implications for Assisted Reproductive Technologies. In: Baldi, E., Muratori, M. (eds) Genetic Damage in Human Spermatozoa. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, vol 1166. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-21664-1_3

7Path SpermQT White Paper; Jenkins, Tim et al. “The impact of zinc and folic acid supplementation on sperm DNA methylation: results from the folic acid and zinc supplementation randomized clinical trial (FAZST).” Fertility and sterility vol. 117,1 (2022): 75-85. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2021.09.009

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