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Unexplained Male Infertility Linked to Sperm Gene Mutation

Posted Jul 22 2011 12:00am
Men with unexplained infertility may be lacking a special “coat” that surrounds their sperm. According to scientists at the University of California-Davis this coat is actually a protein layer which protects the sperm from being attacked by the female's immune system. Without this layer the sperm are unable to survive passing through the fluids of the female reproductive tract and thus causes male infertility .

After examining over 500 couples who were trying to conceive the researchers found that the conception rate was 30% less in those couples where the male had the genetic mutation.
This is the first real scientific breakthrough to explain male infertility. Gary Cherr, a professor at the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory and Center for Health and Environment and senior author of the report explains, "In 70 percent of men, you can't explain their infertility on the basis of sperm count and quality.”
Nearly 1 in 6 couples have trouble conceiving and a third of those cases are due to male infertility factors. This is typically diagnosed as a result of abnormal semen analysis . However, sometimes even in the absence of abnormal semen or other female factors, couples are unable to conceive. This is called unexplained infertility.
Experts are encouraged that this new discovery could help reproductive specialists imporve infertility testing as well as treatment for males.
The study was published in the July 20th edition of the journal Science Translational Medicine.
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