7 October 2016
Sons of infertile fathers who were conceived via intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) treatment are more likely to have fertility problems of their own in later life.
Research carried out by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel analysed data from the world's oldest group of young men conceived by means of ICSI because of their fathers' infertility. A total of 54 men born between 1992 and 1996 were analysed in the study.
These men, who were aged between 18 to 22, were found to have almost half the sperm concentration and a twofold lower total sperm count and total count of motile sperm than naturally-conceived men of a similar age.
ICSI-born men were also nearly three times more likely to have sperm concentrations below 15 million per millilitre of semen - the World Health Organization's definition of normal - and four times more likely to have total sperm counts below 39 million.
Professor Andre Van Steirteghem, one of the co-authors of this study, said: "These first results from the oldest group of ICSI-conceived adults worldwide indicate that a degree of 'sub-fertility' has, indeed, been passed on to sons of fathers who underwent ICSI because of impaired semen characteristics."
ICSI involves sperm from the father being injected directly into the mother's egg in the laboratory, with the fertilised egg then placed in her womb. This makes it possible to select the best samples from men with very few viable sperm.
Posted by Philip Briggs
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