Detecting infertility in men will not take a year or longer than a trial, because a study found a reliable screening method and find out which treatment option is most suitable for patients.
Michael Skinner, a reproductive biologist at Washington State University and a team of international collaborators found that infertile men have identifiable patterns from epigenetic molecules or biomarkers attached to their sperm DNA that are absent in infertile men.
The scientists also identified epigenetic biomarkers among infertile patients who responded to hormone therapy to treat their condition compared to those who did not.
Their research could ultimately provide physicians with reliable methods for screening men for infertility and finding out which treatment options are most suitable for their patients.
This can, in turn, save partners, where men are unable to have children naturally, long periods of time are usually needed before a doctor will recommend that they see a specialist for medically assisted reproduction.
Currently, the main method for diagnosing male infertility is to assess the quantity and motility of sperm, which has historically had limited success separating infertile men from infertile men.
Skinner and colleagues published a study of their new diagnostic approach in Nature: Scientific Reports.
"Male infertility is increasing worldwide and is recognized as playing a key role in reproductive health and disease," Skinner said.
"Having a diagnostic that tells you immediately that your male patient is infertile and here are treatment options that will work for him will be very useful," Skinner added.
About 20 percent of men who need invasive fertilization to have children will experience infertility problems where the cause is unknown.
These men usually use a regimen to try to have children with their partners for a year or more before being recommended for IVF.
Skinner and his colleagues wanted to see if they could make a diagnosis to rule out this period of uncertainty.
Scientists know from previous research that there is a possible relationship between male infertility and changes in the group of methyl molecules that attach to sperm DNA that regulates how certain genes function.
They used sophisticated molecular analysis techniques to see whether they could identify these changes, or biomarkers, in the methyl group attached to the DNA of sperm of infertile and infertile men who agreed to participate in research studies.
They found that all infertile men in this study had specific biomarkers that infertile men lacked.
The scientists also identified other biomarkers among infertile patients that could be used to determine who would be responsive to hormone therapy treatment.
(This story has been published from a wire agent feed without modification to the text.)
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