Sperm DNA Fragmentation: Consequences for Reproduction

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2019:1166:87-105. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-21664-1_6.


DNA fragmentation, or the accumulation of single- and double-strand DNA breaks, is a common property of sperm, and an increase in the level of sperm DNA fragmentation is known to influence natural reproduction. The effect of sperm DNA fragmentation on male infertility and assisted reproductive treatment (ART) outcomes remains controversial and is one of the most frequently debated topics of reproductive medicine. For the past 30 years, a number of assays have been developed to quantify the level of sperm DNA fragmentation. In this chapter, we review the causes of sperm DNA fragmentation, describe the commonly used tests to evaluate these abnormalities, and perform a systematic review of existing studies to determine the impact of sperm DNA fragmentation on male fertility and ART outcomes.

Keywords: ART outcomes; Comet assay; Male infertility; SCD assay; SCSA; Sperm DNA fragmentation; TUNEL assay.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA Fragmentation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male*
  • Male
  • Reproduction* / genetics
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted
  • Spermatozoa* / pathology
  • Treatment Outcome