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Arab J Urol. 2018 Feb 1;16(1):87-95. doi: 10.1016/j.aju.2017.11.014. eCollection 2018 Mar.

Oxidation-reduction potential and sperm DNA fragmentation, and their associations with sperm morphological anomalies amongst fertile and infertile men.

Author information

Department of Urology, Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar.
Department of Urology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, USA.
Department of Surgery, Hamad General Hospital, Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar.
College of Medicine, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar.
School of Health and Education, University of Skövde, Skövde, Sweden.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Women's Hospital, Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar.



To assess seminal oxidation-reduction potential (ORP) and sperm DNA fragmentation (SDF) in male infertility and their relationships with sperm morphology in fertile and infertile men.

Patients and methods:

Prospective case-control study comparing the findings of infertile men (n = 1168) to those of men with confirmed fertility (n = 100) regarding demographics and semen characteristics (conventional and advanced semen tests). Spearman rank correlation assessed the correlation between ORP, SDF, and different morphological indices. Means of ORP and SDF were assessed in variable levels of normal sperm morphology amongst all participants.


Infertile patients had a significantly lower mean sperm count (32.7 vs 58.7 × 106 sperm/mL), total motility (50.1% vs 60.4%), and normal morphology (5.7% vs 9.9%). Conversely, infertile patients had significantly higher mean head defects (54% vs 48%), and higher ORP and SDF values than fertile controls. ORP and SDF showed significant positive correlations and significant negative correlations with sperm head defects and normal morphology in infertile patients, respectively. ORP and SDF were significantly inversely associated with the level of normal sperm morphology. Using receiver operating characteristic curve analysis, ORP and SDF threshold values of 1.73 mV/106 sperm/mL and 25.5%, respectively, were associated with 76% and 56% sensitivity and 72% and 72.2% specificity, respectively, in differentiating <4% from ≥4% normal morphology.


A direct inverse relationship exists between seminal ORP and SDF with various levels of normal sperm morphology. Using ORP and SDF measures in conjunction with standard semen morphology analysis could validate the result of the fertility status of patients.


ART, assisted reproductive techniques; AUC, area under the curve; ICSI, intracytoplasmic sperm injection; IUI, intrauterine insemination; IVF, in vitro fertilisation; Male infertility; NPV, negative predictive value; ORP, oxidation–reduction potential; OS, oxidative stress; Oxidation-reduction potential; PPV, positive predictive value; ROC, receiver operating characteristic; ROS, reactive oxygen species; SCD, sperm chromatin dispersion; Sperm; Sperm DNA fragmentation; Sperm morphology

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