Although semen analysis usually looks at the numbers
and the condition of whole sperm, the authors of a
small Polish study believe the degree fragmentation
in DNA strands in the sperm might be a better
indicator of fertility. DNA carries the cell's
genetic information and hereditary characteristics
and men with fragmentation have lower odds of
conceiving naturally and through procedures like in
The aim of Dr. Marian Radwan of Gameta Hospital in
Rzgow, Poland was to determine whether stress and
everyday life factors are associated with sperm DNA
damage in adult men.
The study population consisted of 286 men under age
45 who attended the infertility clinic for
diagnostic purposes and who had normal semen
concentration or with slight oligozoospermia.
Most of the men were overweight, nonsmokers, and
with moderate levels of work stress and life stress.
Half had been using a cell phone for 6 to 10 years.
Participants were interviewed and provided a semen
sample. The sperm chromatin structure assay was
assessed using flow cytometry.
In the present study, researchers found evidence for
a relationship between sperm DNA damage parameters
and everyday life factors. High and medium level of
occupational stress and age increase DNA
Other lifestyle factors that were positively
associated with percentage of immature sperms (high
DNA stainability index) included: obesity and cell
phone use for more than 10 years.
Coffee or alcohol use, smoking and physical activity
levels were not linked to DNA fragmentation, the
Data from the present study showed a significant
effect of age, obesity, mobile phone radiation and
occupational stress on sperm DNA damage. The men all
had normal semen concentrations, but older men and
those with higher work stress had more fragmentation
of the DNA in their sperm.
There is some evidence that DNA damage, beyond
affecting a man's fertility, may be passed along to
offspring, raising their risk of gene mutations
linked to various illnesses.
As DNA fragmentation represents an extremely
important parameter indicative of infertility and
potential outcome of assisted reproduction
treatment, and most of the lifestyle factors are
easily modifiable, the information about factors
that may affect DNA damage are important.
For more information
Nature- International Journal of Impotence Research
Sperm DNA damage—the effect of stress and everyday
M Radwan, J Jurewicz, D Merecz-Kot, W Sobala, P
Radwan, M Bochenek and W Hanke.