icon Genetic Testing
Although it is rare, genetic illnesses such as cystic fibrosis or chromosomal disorders can cause infertility. In some cases of auto-immune disease, the immune system can mistakenly target sperm cells and treat them as if they were a foreign virus, resulting in damaged sperm. Certain hormonal imbalances can also affect morphology, such as those occurring in the pituitary and thyroid glands. In Western terms, nothing can be done if it is a genetic trait save analysing embryos through an ICSI cycle. Other causes such as varicocele may be successfully treated through surgical removal.
When abnormally shaped sperm is analysed at a genetic level, it is found that misshapen sperm often contains abnormal DNA. That is, an abnormally shaped sperm may be short a chromosome, have an extra chromosome, or have DNA which is packed into the sperm head in such a way so that if that abnormally shaped sperm were to enter the egg, the DNA would get tangled up when it tried to form chromosomes inside the egg. Nature has developed a way to keep abnormally shaped sperm from getting inside the egg, thereby maximising the genetic development potential of the embryo.
The Fertility Support Company works with excellent urologists, surgeons and IVF specialists who can give advice and assistance to patients with genetic abnormalities in their sperm. Naava Carman will be the first point of contact and she will advise on referrals and testing. Most testing is conducted privately through The Doctors Laboratory, however testing and treatment is also available on the NHS. Naava can offer advice and support on navigating through the NHS’s approach to treating infertility.