Mutant Sperm Causes InfertilityJuly 22, 2011 No Comments
Infertility is often a problem mostly associated with women but a new studyhas just uncovered a genetic mutation in men that lowers their partners’ chances of giving birth by 30 percent.
Researchers from the University of California, Davis have found that around one in every 250 men has a genetic mutation that stops the production of a protein called beta-Defensin 126 or DEFB126, which coats the surface of sperm. Without that protein, the sperm has problems moving through the mucus and reaching the egg, which drastically decreases the possibility of conception.
The usual tests for the quality of sperm, which examine sperm count, mobility and shape, do not detect the mutation, which researchers suggest is probably related to many cases of inexplicable infertility. But thanks to the findings, men will be able to be scanned for it through a simple genetic test.
Those who have the mutation but want to be parents will be able to conceive through insemination or in-vitro fertilization, where the sperm is inserted close to or inside the egg.
Although under a third of the causes of infertility comes from men, it’s still a considerable amount and this research helps alleviate the stigma of barrenness from women. After all, it takes two to make an embryo.
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