The SCSA test is a test that looks at DNA damage, or fragmentation, within sperm heads. Increased DNA fragmentation of sperm has been linked to recurrent miscarriage and unexplained infertility.
What is sperm DNA fragmentation?
DNA is the hereditary material in humans that consists of two long polymers of simple units with backbones — DNA strands. The information in DNA is stored as a code made up of four types of molecules called bases, which are attached to the DNA strands. The order, or sequence, of these bases determines the information available for building and maintaining an organism. DNA fragmentation occurs when there is an alteration to the bases or a physical break in one or both of the DNA strands.
Causes of sperm DNA fragmentation
The main contributor to DNA fragmentation is the cumulative damage of free radicals not adequately neutralised by antioxidants, a phenomenon known as oxidative stress. Sperm DNA fragmentation is associated with drug use, cigarette smoking, exposure to environmental and occupational pollutants, advanced age, varicocele, elevated testicular temperature (laptop computers, hot tubs), and poor diet.
What is involved in a SCSA test?
This procedure involves the production of a fresh ejaculate sample at Repromed, which is then prepared and analysed by computer flow cytometry to measure DNA fragmentation in individual sperm. We currently offer SCSA test appointments at specific time slots per month so please call the lab on 09 524 1231 well in advance to ensure you obtain your results in a suitable timeframe before beginning treatment. This is a specialised test where results can take up to two weeks to be reported.
For more information on SCSA and whether it is right for you, please read our SCSA Reprofact sheet.