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Fertil Steril. 2004 May;81(5):1289-95.

Sperm chromatin structure assay (SCSA) parameters are related to fertilization, blastocyst development, and ongoing pregnancy in in vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection cycles.

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  • 1Markham Fertility Centre, Markham, Ontario, Canada.



To determine the relationship between sperm chromatin structure assay (SCSA) parameters (DNA fragmentation index [DFI] and high DNA stainability [HDS]), and conventional IVF and IVF/intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) outcomes.


Retrospective review and prospective study.


Private IVF clinic.


Two hundred forty-nine couples undergoing first IVF and/or ICSI cycle.


IVF, ICSI, blastocyst culture.


DFI, HDS, conventional semen parameters, IVF, ICSI.


IVF and ICSI fertilization rates were not statistically different between high- and low-DFI groups. More men with > or =15% HDS had lower (<25% and <50%) IVF fertilization rates. High DNA stainability was not related to ICSI fertilization rates. High DNA stainability did not affect blastocyst rates or pregnancy outcomes. Men with > or =30% DFI were at risk for low blastocyst rates (<30%) and no ongoing pregnancies. Men with > or =30% DFI had more male factors. World Health Organization thresholds were not predictive of ongoing pregnancy.


The relationship between HDS and poor IVF fertilization rates provides preliminary evidence that ICSI may be indicated in men with > or =15% HDS. Men with high levels of DNA fragmentation (> or =30% DFI) were at greater risk for low blastocyst rates and failure to initiate an ongoing pregnancy. The SCSA provides valuable prognostic information to physicians counseling couples before IVF and/or ICSI cycles.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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