Sperm Problems Could Cause Repeated Miscarriages, Study Finds

It has been known that miscarriages occur due to fatal genetic problems affecting the baby. In some cases, women experience sudden loss of fetus or spontaneous abortion due to infections, diabetes, hormone problems, immune system problems and uterine abnormalities.

But studies have shown that not all causes of miscarriages come from the mother’s side or are always related to women, according to WebMD. The latest potential factor that may lead to the condition has been found in men. 

A new study, recently presented at the Endocrine Society's ENDO 2019 meeting in New Orleans, La., stated that sperm DNA damage in the male partner could cause recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL). 

"Affected women undergo many tests to determine the cause, but many cases have no identified cause," Channa Jayasena, lead researcher from Imperial College London in London, said. "However, we know that sperm play an important role in the formation of the placenta, which is critical for survival of an unborn baby." 

The findings come from the analysis of the fertility and sperm DNA of more than 100 men with pregnant partners, EurekAlert reported. The researchers compared 50 healthy men whose partners had not experienced miscarriages with 63 men who had partners affected by recurrent pregnancy loss.

The analysis focused on the levels of sex hormones such as testosterone, the number and behavior of sperm, the level of damage to sperm DNA and molecular tests. Researchers also measured the level of a chemical called reactive oxygen species, which can damage cells in the semen.

Results showed that the men with partners affected by RPL had twice as much sperm DNA damage compared to the unaffected couples. The same affected group also showed four times higher amount of reactive oxygen species that potentially damaged their sperm. 

"Our study suggests that it may be useful to investigate if male partners of women with RPL have abnormalities in their reproductive function," Jayasena said. "It also opens up a new potential 'drug target'; it may be possible to design future drugs to stop sperm DNA damage to treat couples with RPL and reduce the risk of miscarriage."