The Society for Translational Medicine: clinical practice guidelines for sperm DNA fragmentation testing in male infertility

Ashok Agarwal, Chak-Lam Cho, Ahmad Majzoub, Sandro C. Esteves


Sperm DNA fragmentation (SDF) testing has been emerging as a valuable tool for male fertility evaluation. While the essential role of sperm DNA integrity in human reproduction was extensively studied, the clinical indication of SDF testing is less clear. This clinical practice guideline provides recommendations of clinical utility of the test supported by evidence. It is intended to serve as a reference for fertility specialists in identifying the circumstances in which SDF testing should be of greatest clinical value. SDF testing is recommended in patients with clinical varicocele and borderline to normal semen parameters as it can better select varicocelectomy candidates. Outcomes of natural pregnancy and assisted reproductive techniques (ART) can be predicted by result of SDF tests. High SDF is also linked with recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) and failure of ART. Result of SDF testing may change the management decision by selecting the most appropriate ART with the highest success rate for infertile couples. Several studies have demonstrated the benefit in using testicular instead of ejaculated sperm in men with high SDF, oligozoospermia or recurrent in vitro fertilization (IVF) failure. Infertile men with modifiable lifestyle factor may benefit from SDF testing by reinforcing risk factor modification and monitoring patient’s progress to intervention.