Like with most body cells, sperm cells can be damaged by certain lifestyle and external factors. Smoking, scrotal heat exposure, varicocele (enlarged veins around the testicles), along with chronic infection, poor diet, stress, alcohol and increasing age can all affect sperm quality. Sperm contains DNA, which is the genetic material required to be passed on to the egg for a healthy embryo to develop.

This genetic material may become damaged leading to what is called DNA fragmentation. It is thought that high DNA fragmentation may account for a number of cases of unexplained infertility, recurrent miscarriage and failed IVF cycles. That is why we sometimes recommend testing for this in order to check for the integrity of the sperm’s genetic material.