Scientists may have found a vital a clue that is linked to male infertility problems after discovering a genetic change in a quarter of men which caused them to become less fertile than normal.
This new and exciting discovery of the gene that codes protein found on the outside of the male sperm that is essential to the success of helping the sperm to swim through treacherous female body fluids to reach and fertilise the egg, could now lead to a new screening service to identify the men who are taking longer than usual to father a child.
Scientists however, do believe that men who have the altered gene can still go on to father a child, it just might take them longer than anticipated:
“If you have got this gene variant you should allow that little bit longer if your partner’s planning to get pregnant.
“It takes two.
“It is the genetic variation in a man that affects fertility in this particular case”, said co-author of the study, Doctor Edward Hollox of Leicester University, who firmly agrees that this vital clue to male infertility might lead to identify couples who might be in need of treatment:
“It is another tool in the toolkit of fertility treatment”, added Doctor Hollox.
The altered gene is called DEFB126, which codes for a protein that will cling to the sperm on its journey through female boy fluids helping it to swim stronger and faster.
Following extensive studies from hundreds of men and women from the UK, US, China, Japan and Africa, the researchers discovered that the altered gene is very common around the world, with as many as half of all men carrying one of the defective genes.
The full study is reported in the Science Translational Medicine Journal.