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Repeated miscarriages related to defective sperm
British scientists have found evidence that poor sperm quality in men can also be the reason why women miscarry. The study team hopes that the new findings will help find treatments to reduce miscarriage risk.
Which increases the risk of miscarriage
Miscarriage is always a traumatic event for women. To avoid them, it is important to know the possible causes and to avoid them if possible. British researchers have now gained new insights, which can increase the risk of miscarriage. In a study, they found that poor father sperm quality could also be responsible.
More DNA damage
Imperial College London scientists conducted a study examining the sperm quality of 50 men whose partners had suffered three or more consecutive miscarriages.
The study, published in the journal Clinical Chemistry, found that the sperm cells of these men had more DNA damage than those whose partners had not had miscarriages.
The researchers are now hoping that the new evidence will help them find treatments to reduce the risk of miscarriage, according to a statement from Imperial College London.
Sperm health plays a role
According to the experts, until recently, recurrent miscarriages were thought to be caused by maternal health problems, such as infections or immune problems.
But doctors have now recognized that sperm health can also play a role, study author Dr. Channa Jayasena.
“Traditionally, doctors have focused attention on women when looking for the causes of recurrent miscarriages. The health of men - and the health of their sperm - was not analyzed, ”said the scientist.
"However, this research is contributing to a growing body of evidence suggesting that sperm health determines pregnancy health," said Dr. Jayasena.
"For example, previous research suggests that sperm play an important role in the formation of the placenta, which is critical to the oxygen and nutrient supply to the fetus."
Reactive oxygen species
In the current study, the team analyzed the sperm of 50 men who were patients in the Recurrent Miscarriage Clinic at St. Mary's Hospital in London.
They then compared the results with the sperm health of 60 male volunteers whose partners had not miscarried.
The analysis showed that sperm from men with partners who had suffered recurrent miscarriages had twice as much DNA damage as the control group.
The research team points out that this DNA damage can be triggered by so-called reactive oxygen species.
According to the information, the concentration of these highly reactive molecules was increased fourfold in the men concerned.
Bacteria in the prostate
For example, reactive oxygen species are formed in the body's cells as part of the defense against bacterial infections - but if they take over, this can be harmful.
"At the time of the study, none of the study participants had a bacterial infection such as chlamydia that we know can affect sperm quality," said Dr. Jayasena.
“But germs from the previous prostate could still remain in the prostate. This could lead to permanently high amounts of reactive oxygen species. "
Excessive obesity affects sperm quality
The study author added that there is increasing evidence that obesity affects sperm quality - possibly because a high percentage of body fat can trigger an increase in reactive oxygen species.
In addition, previous studies have shown that a father's high-fat diet, too much cola and marijuana harm the sperm.
Furthermore, the current study found that the men whose partners had miscarried were slightly older than those in the control group - with an average age of 37 compared to 30 years. They were also a bit heavier.
The team is now investigating whether these factors may have influenced the level of reactive oxygen species.
The causes are not only the woman's
"If we confirm in further work that high levels of reactive oxygen species in the semen increase the risk of miscarriage, we could try to develop treatments that lower this concentration and increase the likelihood of a healthy pregnancy," concluded Dr. Jayasena.
"It took a long time to realize that sperm health plays a role in miscarriages - and that the cause is not only women," says the researcher.
"We now understand that both partners are contributing to recurrent miscarriages, and we can hopefully get a clearer picture of the problem and find ways to ensure that more pregnancies lead to a healthy baby." (Ad)