Study finds DNA damage in sperm is a potential cause for repeated miscarriages

Imperial College scientists have been undergoing research into the DNA of sperm, and have discovered that some repeated miscarriages could potentially be caused by damaged sperm.

Researchers are now saying that the health of men's sperm could be a factor in terms of couples who are suffering multiple miscarriages.

The small, government-funded study by scientists suggest that miscarriages aren't simply caused by issues in the female anatomy alone, according to The Guardian.

The health of men's sperm has not previously been the topic under discussion, according to Dr Channa Jayasena, who is the lead author of the research in the department of medicine.

“Traditionally, doctors have focused attention on women when looking for the causes of recurrent miscarriage. The men’s health – and the health of their sperm – wasn’t analysed."

“However, this research adds to a growing body of evidence that suggests sperm health dictates the health of a pregnancy," he continued.

"For instance, previous research suggests sperm has an important role in the formation of the placenta, which is crucial for oxygen and nutrient supply to the foetus.”

The study was undertaken by a team in St. Mary's hospital in London who tested 50 men whose partners had suffered repeated instances of miscarriages. 60 male volunteers took part as the control group, for comparison purposes.

The researchers wrote in the journal Clinical Chemistry that the sperm of the men had twice as much DNA damage than those men of the control group. The cause of this is now under investigation, with factors such as weight, age, previous illness, hormones and medical history being analysed.

Dr Kevin McEleny of the British Fertility Society also told The Guardian: “This is an interesting study that illustrates the importance of research into sperm quality. The results agree with some of the previous research into a link between DNA damage in sperm and miscarriage."

Dr Channa Jayasena described the study as a "clue to follow" for developing treatments which may increase the chance of a healthy pregnancy;

“It has taken medicine a long time to realise sperm health has a role to play in miscarriage and that the cause doesn’t lie solely with women."

"Now we realise both partners contribute to recurrent miscarriage, we can hopefully get a clearer picture of the problem and start to look for ways of ensuring more pregnancies result in a healthy baby.”

The study could prove instrumental in future data and studies of male fertility and healthy pregnancies.