Role of Genetic Testing in Male Infertility

Ponco Birowo
April 2018  •  DOI: 10.23886/ejki.6.9408.


Male-factor infertility is responsible for 30-55% of all infertility cases. The causes of male infertility include varicocele, endocrine disorders, genital tract infections, genetic disorders and idiopathic. It is estimated that genetic abnormalities contribute to 50% of male infertility. In daily practice, the diagnosis of male infertility has been based on history taking, relevant physical examination, hormone tests and basic semen analysis with a strong emphasis on the assessment of sperm concentration, motility, and morphology. Although recent development in assisted-reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization and intrauterine insemination increases the chance of clinical pregnancy and live birth, genetic counseling and testing should always beperformed whenever genetic risks are related to the cause of infertility for the identification of possible genetic abnormalities and to assess the risk of transmitting the genetic defects to future generations. Genetic defects affect male infertility by disrupting hormonal homeostasis, spermatogenesis, and sperm quality. These genetic defects include chromosomal abnormalities (e.g. Klinefelter Syndrome), Y chromosome deletions, and cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator gene mutations. The utilization of genetic counseling and testing is also important to predict the success of sperm retrieval in men with certain genetic abnormalities. Toname a few, genetic analysis at the chromosomal level (karyotyping), androgen receptor gene mutations test, cystic fibrosis test, and Y chromosome microdeletions analysis should be considered in the diagnosis of male factor infertility where genetic risks are present.

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