New research conducted by scientists at Imperial College found out that a big factor of miscarriages could be faulty sperm. They also suspect that the men whose partners try to carry a baby to term also have more DNA damage.
In their study, researchers investigated the quality of the sperm of 50 men whose partners had three or more miscarriages in a row.
Comparing the results of the sperm from 50 men with that of 60 men whose partners had healthy pregnancies, scientists found that the group with miscarriages had twice more damage to their DNA.
According to the lead author of the research, Dr. Channa Jayasena, many doctors think that recurrent miscarriages were because of a woman’s health, and their partner’s health of the sperm was never analyzed:
However, this research adds to a growing body of evidence that suggests sperm health dictates the health of a pregnancy. For instance, previous research suggests sperm has an important role in the formation of the placenta, which is crucial for oxygen and nutrient supply to the foetus.
The research team believes that the sperm’s molecules called reactive oxygen species which protect against bacterial infection are what damage the DNA. If they are too many, they are harmful. In the miscarriage group, the men’s sperm had an increase of four times more reactive oxygen species compared to the healthy pregnancy control group.
At the moment, researchers are now looking into what triggers these helpful molecules and find a way to limit their production to save pregnancies.
Dr. Jayasena believes that the overproduction of these molecules could be because of previous infections that might linger in the prostate gland and that it could also lead to a permanently high level of these molecules:
It has taken medicine a long time to realise sperm health has a role to play in miscarriage — and that the cause doesn’t lie solely with women. Now we realise both partners contribute to recurrent miscarriage, we can hopefully get a clearer picture of the problem and start to look for ways of ensuring more pregnancies result in a healthy baby.
Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere