Across Europe around 1 in 6 couples resort to fertility treatment in their struggle to have a child, over half of these will have a male partner who factors in the fertility problem. However the techniques currently used to move towards conception rely on a series of procedures for the female partner, which all carry risk. It is therefore not just of financial interest, but also of female health interest that successful healthy live birth can be achieved with as few rounds of treatment as possible.
For some couples it is likely that sperm DNA quality is a key factor as this relates to miscarriage (Robinson et al., 2012) and is also suggested to relate to poorer fertilization, embryo development rates and increases in the likelihood of childhood cancers (Aitken et al., 2014). This project aims to study the link between DNA damage in sperm to couples’ difficulty in conceiving and to the increased likelihood of miscarriage. If successful, this can be translated into clinical assessment of couples seeking assisted contraception and help direct therapy.