Male infertility is typically diagnosed by measuring the amount of sperm in a man’s ejaculate or by observing the motility, mobility, and shape of sperm under a microscope.
However, more complex molecular effects may also play a role in male infertility. Unfortunately, researchers are still trying to identify which genes actually function in a man’s fertility.
Now, a study out of the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) and the Puigvert Foundation have identified specific genes involved in low pregnancy rates from sperm donors.
The group collected samples from 68 single, young and healthy sperm donors with unknown fertility. They then looked at the expression of 85 genes believed to be involved in male fertility.
The study found that there were significant differences in the genes of 8 samples from donors with worse and better pregnancy rates.
The researchers were able to narrow the profile down to 4 genes that could accurately identify a subfertile man.
These results help to narrow down the complex origins of male infertility and may provide a test for unexplained male infertility.