Scientists may be one step closer to discovering exactly what causes male infertility.
Often, men struggle to conceive due to having poor quality sperm or a low sperm count.
But now research has found that a gene known as SYCP2 could be the reason behind why some men suffer with infertility.
Discovery of new gene may be the cause of male infertility
Scientists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital found a genetic abnormality in a patient they treated for fertility for two years. They then found the same abnormality in three other men.
“We hope that our evidence will contribute to this gene being in panels for diagnosis of male infertility,” said author Cynthia Morton, a medical geneticist at the Brigham.
“Infertility is a big problem for young people, and 40 to 72 percent of men lack a diagnosis.
“This means that we have a lot of gene finding to do. My lab has a longstanding interest in studying individuals who have a balanced chromosome rearrangement where two chromosome segments swap places.
“In this case, it led us to an important discovery.”
Male infertility affects around one in five men in Australia.
More about male infertility
A man is considered infertile after 12 months of unprotected sex.
Male infertility is usually the result of poor sperm or low numbers of sperm.
A man may experience sperm problems if they have a hormonal problem, such as too little testosterone, a genetic problem or having had certain infections, such as sexually transmitted diseases.
Other factors that could cause male infertility include:
- Age, sperm decrease as men get older
- Treatments for cancer, such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy
- Vasectomy reversal developing antibodies against the sperm
- Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
- Being overweight
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