New Test Might Transform Male Infertility
A new study suggests that, at least for certain male patients, the answer to infertility might lie with epigenetics. According to the study, a commercially-available test of epigenetic anomalies — factors that affect how genes express themselves — can grade the likelihood that sperm are viable for conception. The uniqueness of epigenetics is that some of the abnormalities detected have the potential to be modified with lifestyle. For decades, semen analysis has been based on motility, morphology, and concentration. But these measures, while useful, are limited. Semen can still have low capacity for producing a pregnancy even when all three parameters are normal.
@arif-bhatt The test, called Path SpermQT (Inherent Biosciences) detects unstable gene promotors, which are the epigenetic markers for gene expression. In previous work with more than 1300 gene samples, expression of the specific genes regulated by these promoters were linked to a wide variety of functions relevant to fertilization, such as spermatogenesis.