Objective: The sperm DNA fragmentation index (DFI) guides the clinician’s choice of an appropriate assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedure. The DFI can be determined using commercially available methodologies, including sperm chromatin dispersion (SCD) kits and sperm chromatin structure assay (SCSA). Currently, when DFI is evaluated using SCD kits, the result is analyzed in reference to the SCSA-derived threshold for the choice of an ART procedure. In this study, we compared DFI values obtained using SCSA with those obtained using SCD and determined whether the difference affects the choice of ART procedure. Methods: We compared SCSA to two SCD kits, CANfrag (n=36) and Halosperm (n=31), to assess the DFI values obtained, the correlations between tests, the technical repeatability, and the impact of DFI on the choice of ART. Results: We obtained higher median DFI values using SCD kits than when using SCSA, and this difference was significant for the CANfrag kit (p<0.001). The SCD kits had significantly higher coefficients of variation than SCSA (p<0.001). In vitro fertilization/intracytoplasmic sperm injection (IVF/ICSI) would be chosen for a significantly higher proportion of patients if a decision were made based on DFI derived from SCD rather than DFI determined using SCSA (p=0.003). Conclusion: Our results indicate that SCD kit-specific thresholds should be established in order to avoid the unnecessary use of IVF/ICSI based on sperm DNA damage for the management of infertility. Appropriate measures should be taken to mitigate the increased variability inherent to the methods used in these tests.
- Assisted reproductive technology
- DNA fragmentation
- Male infertility