Value of the sperm deoxyribonucleic acid fragmentation level, as measured by the sperm chromatin dispersion test, in the outcome of in vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection

Muriel L, Garrido N, Fernandez J L, Remohi J, Pellicer A, de los Santos M J, Meseguer M,
Fertil Steril. Feb. 2006 doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2005.07.1327


OBJECTIVE: To determine the prognostic value of sperm DNA fragmentation levels, as measured by the sperm chromatin dispersion (SCD) test, in predicting IVF and ICSI outcome. DESIGN: Double-blind prospective study. SETTING: University-affiliated private IVF setting. PATIENT(S): A total of 85 couples undergoing infertility treatment with IVF/ICSI. INTERVENTION(S): Analysis of DNA fragmentation by the SCD test in 170 aliquots obtained from the ejaculate and from the processed semen used for assisted reproductive technologies (ART). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Percentage of spermatozoa with fragmented DNA was statistically correlated with embryo quality and reproductive success. RESULT(S): Fertilization rate was inversely correlated with DNA fragmentation (r = -0.245 P = .045). Higher DNA fragmentation rate gave an increased proportion of zygotes showing asynchrony between the nucleolar precursor bodies of zygote pronuclei (73.8% vs. 28.8% P < .001). In addition, the slower embryo development and worst morphology on day 6 was correlated with higher sperm DNA fragmentation (47.7% vs. 29.4% P = .044). We also observed a negative correlation between DNA fragmentation and the implantation rate (r = -0.250 P = .042). However, SCD test values were not statistically different in cycles that resulted in a pregnancy compared with those that did not (33.2 vs. 28.2 and 32.4 vs. 34.7). CONCLUSION(S): This is the first report that describes a correlation between sperm DNA integrity, as measured by the SCD test, and fertilization rate, embryo quality, and implantation rate in IVF/ICSI. The degree of DNA fragmentation was inversely correlated with fertilization rate, synchrony of the nucleolar precursor bodies' pattern in pronuclei, embryo ability to achieve blastocyst stage, and embryo morphological quality. Because SCD test values were correlated with embryo quality and blastocyst rate, the lack of correlation between sperm DNA fragmentation and pregnancy outcome in IVF might be due to embryo selection before transfer. The ability of the SCD test to predict the blastocyst rate after IVF/ICSI warrants further study.