DNA damage to spermatozoa has impacts on fertilization and pregnancy
DNA damage in the male germ line has been associated with poor semen quality, low fertilization rates, impaired preimplantation development, increased abortion and an elevated incidence of disease in the offspring, including childhood cancer. The causes of this DNA damage are still uncertain but the major candidates are oxidative stress and aberrant apoptosis. The weight of evidence currently favours the former and, in keeping with this conclusion, positive results have been reported for antioxidant therapy both in vivo and in vitro. Resolving the causes of DNA damage in the male germ line will be essential if we are to prevent the generation of genetically damaged human embryos, particularly in the context of assisted conception therapy.