One of the tests used to assess the quality of sperm is called the DNA fragmentation test. DNA
fragmentation refers to the amount of damaged DNA in sperms which affects male fertility.
We need to understand that alterations to sperm DNA has negative repercussions on sperm
quality thereby affecting its fertilization potential as well as embryo quality. Such defects
cannot be detected on routine semen analysis.
Various causes have been identified as reasons for high levels of DNA fragmentation in
sperms. This includes High scrotal temperatures, Varicocoeles, Testicular infections etc.
Some medications, age, tobacco and alcohol can also be contributing factors.
Sperm DNA fragmentation can be assessed through various tests. One of the common one’s
in usage is Sperm Chromatin Dispersion test. Some common indications where you might be
advised to check you DNA Fragmentation Index (DFI) are
1. Recurrent pregnancy loss
2. Unexplained fertility
3. Diabetes mellitus
4. Smokers and alcoholics
5. Abnormal semen analysis

In Sperm chromatin dispersion test we assess the size of the halos around the sperm head.
By doing so we are able to measure the degree of sperm chromatin decondensation.
In this test the sperms with intact DNA will have larger dispersion than those with damaged DNA.
DNA fragmentation can be improved when treating with anti oxidants such as Vit C, E, A for a minimum period of 2 – 3 months. You will also be advised to increase intake of fruits & nuts rich in the above resources.
You need to bear in mind that DNA fragmentation might not improve even after treating it with Anti-oxidants in some patients . Procedures such as IUI also have low success rates when using sperms with high DFI, therefore it would be prudent to proceed to IVF (ICSI) directly.