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Semen quality and pregnancy loss in a contemporary cohort of couples recruited before conception: data from the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment (LIFE) Study

Michael L. Eisenberg, Katherine J. Sapra, Sung Duk Kim, Zhen Chen, Germaine M. Buck Louis
Department of Urology, Stanford University, Stanford, California
Fertility and Sterlity, October 2017, Volume 108, Issue 4, Pages 613–619
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2017.07.008

Objective

To study the relationship between semen quality and pregnancy loss in a cohort of couples attempting to conceive.

Design

Observational prospective cohort.

Setting

Not applicable.

Patient(s)

Three hundred and forty-four couples with a singleton pregnancy observed daily through 7 postconception weeks of gestation.

Intervention(s)

None.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Association between semen quality and pregnancy loss.

Result(s)

Ninety-eight (28%) of the couples experienced a pregnancy loss after singleton pregnancy. No differences were observed in semen volume, sperm concentration, total sperm count, sperm viability, or sperm morphology (World Health Organization [WHO] and strict criteria) by couple’s pregnancy loss status irrespective of whether they were analyzed continuously or as dichotomous variables per the WHO 5th edition semen criteria. A dichotomous DNA fragmentation measure of ≥30% was statistically significantly associated with pregnancy loss. No association was identified with other sperm morphometric or movement measures. Of the 70 couples who re-enrolled after a pregnancy loss, 14 experienced a second loss. Similar findings were identified when examining semen quality from couples with recurrent pregnancy loss.

Conclusion(s)

Although a few trends were identified (e.g., DNA fragmentation), general semen parameters seemed to have little relation with risk of pregnancy loss or recurrent pregnancy loss at the population level. However, given that 30% of pregnancies end in miscarriage and half the fetal genome is paternal in origin, the findings await corroboration.

Key Words:

DNA fragmentation, fertility, male infertility, semen analysis, spontaneous abortion

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