Unexplained infertility – could the cause be found?

Being told that doctors can’t find a reason why you can’t get pregnant can be hugely frustrating – and often means that people end up blaming themselves, making endless lifestyle changes or paying for lots of complementary treatments in an attempt to improve their fertility.

Now, researchers from Belfast claim that they’ve discovered a cause for many fertility problems which have been classified as “unexplained”.  In a study of more than 200 couples, they discovered that there was high sperm DNA damage in 80% of the couples who’d been told their infertility was unexplained.  The research – which has been published in  Reproductive Biomedicine Online – also revealed that the chances of getting pregnant after IVF is linked to the amount of DNA damage in each sperm.  Some DNA damage is normal and is found even in perfectly fertile men, but when levels are high this can reduce the chances of having a baby even with fertility treatment.

You can read more about the research here.  If this is indeed the case, it could herald a huge change in the diagnosis and treatment of many couples with fertility problems.

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