What causes sperm DNA damage

The main mission of the spermatozoon is to transport the DNA that it carries compacted in its head and introduce it into the egg. For this purpose, it has a self-propulsion motor system formed by the microtubules of the flagellum that allows it to propel itself and reach the distal part of the tubes, and a biochemical bore or acrosome that allows it to penetrate the egg and fertilize it. Once inside the egg, the sperm releases its DNA to fuse with the egg’s DNA and give rise to the embryo’s genome. Although the egg directs embryonic development during the first three days, from day 3 onwards the paternal genome becomes active and begins to play an important role in embryonic development.

Sperm DNA damage usually occurs during the passage of sperm through the epididymis and is induced by free radicals.

If the DNA is damaged it could result in:

  1. Embryonic development stops from day 3 onwards.
  2. The embryo does not implant in the endometrium.
  3. Spontaneous miscarriage occurs.
  4. Genetic alterations occur.

Hence the importance of preventing sperm DNA damage. Fortunately, today Andrology specialists have pharmacological treatments that they can prescribe to patients to prevent this type of damage and that, therefore, contribute to normal embryonic and fetal development and a full-term pregnancy.

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