Second only to the human desire for survival is our desire to have children so miscarriage is devastating.

Up until now, miscarriage has been seen exclusively as a woman’s problem. The possibility that men might be involved has not yet been fully considered.

Recent research using a number of novel male biomarkers has shown strong associations between poor sperm quality and recurrent miscarriage. These biomarkers have a common link; they measure different aspects of sperm DNA quality. We know that sperm DNA quality is critical as the normal functioning of paternal genes is essential for the early development of the embryo and foetus, so it is not surprising that sperm DNA is also involved in maintaining a healthy pregnancy  (reviewed by Lewis et al, 2013).

Sperm from men whose partners have a history of miscarriage have higher levels of sperm DNA damage than sperm from those whose partners deliver healthy babies. This is not just following ART. In a recent pilot study, we have observed sperm DNA damage (above the clinical threshold, Simon et al, 2010) in 91% of men whose partners have recurrent miscarriages following spontaneous conceptions.

The good news is that we now have a test for male partners of couples with a history of miscarriage.

The SpermComet test provides couples with new opportunities to have a family. Couples may wish to consult with their  doctor about lifestyle changes to reduce their sperm DNA damage or even about different forms of fertility treatment.

The SpermComet test provides couples with more information about fertility, allowing them to make more informed decisions about their future pathways to starting their family.

Further research: Zhao et al, 2014Robinson et al, 2012

Tommy’s Campaign Project 6: The impact of damaged sperm on miscarriage