The effect of sperm DNA fragmentation on live birth rate after IVF or ICSI: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Reprod Biomed Online. 2015 Feb;30(2):120-7. doi: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2014.10.018. Epub 2014 Nov 13.


A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted to evaluate the relationship between the extent of sperm DNA damage and live birth rate (LBR) per couple and the influence of the method of fertilization on treatment outcome. Searches were conducted on MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane Library. Six studies were eligible for inclusion in the meta-analysis. Overall, LBR increased signficantly in couples with low sperm DNA fragmentation compared with those with high sperm DNA fragmentation (RR 1.17, 95% CI 1.07 to 1.28; P = 0.0005). After IVF and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), men with low sperm DNA fragmentation had significantly higher LBR (RR 1.27, 95% CI 1.05 to 1.52; P = 0.01) and (RR 1.11, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.23, P = 0.04), respectively. A sensitivity analysis showed no statistically significant difference in LBR between low and high sperm DNA fragmentation when ICSI treatment was used (RR 1.08, 95% CI 0.39 to 2.96; P = 0.88). High sperm DNA fragmentation in couples undergoing assisted reproduction techniques is associated with lower LBR. Well-designed randomized studies are required to assess the role of ICSI over IVF in the treatment of men with high sperm DNA fragmentation.

Keywords: IVF; infertility; sperm DNA damage; sperm DNA fragmentation.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA Fragmentation*
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro / methods*
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / therapy
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Sperm Injections, Intracytoplasmic / methods*
  • Spermatozoa / metabolism*
  • Treatment Outcome