Proteins identified that could result in a simple test of male fertility

There are two types of male infertility – obstructive infertility, where sperm is being produced but not getting released, and non-obstructive infertility, where the testicles are making little, if any sperm. Currently, men with no sperm (azoospermia) will undergo a series of expensive, and often painful tests (in the case of testicular biopsy) to determine whether they have obstructive or non-obstructive infertility. In some cases, obstructive infertility can be fixed, or sperm can be extracted from the testicles. For those with non-obstructive infertility, the fix is more difficult, although not impossible. Often locating and extracting small quantities of viable sperm requires a lengthy and invasive operation, which involves cutting open a testicle. Viable sperm is harvested in only about half of these surgeries, making the cost and discomfort questionable.

However, recently scientists in Toronto, Canada have identified two proteins that could form the basis of a male infertility test that could save men with obstructive or non-obstructive infertility time, pain, and money. A test for these proteins could help determine what type of infertility a man has, and his chance of fathering children. Testing for these proteins could reduce the need for a testicular biopsy and may identify men for whom invasive sperm retrieval operations are likely to be unsuccessful.

The research was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine. Andrei Drabovich, lead author of the paper, said the research team realized that proteins found in seminal fluid could be used as clues to determine what type of infertility a man has. They started by looking at 2,000 proteins, and eventually narrowed the search down to two. Dr. Keith Jarvi, a scientist on the project, says that one of the proteins that they identified, TEX101, can predict failure, or the absence of sperm, which would indicate that the men with these proteins shouldn’t have the invasive operation, eliminating unnecessary surgery for male patients.

The scientists are hopeful that their work will help fertility clinics to identify the type of male factor infertility faster and simpler than what is available now. However, more testing is needed before tests for these proteins could be approved and available commercially.

Read more about this research here. 

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One Response to “Proteins identified that could result in a simple test of male fertility”

  1. Fertilitynewyork says:

    The causes for infertility in men can range from a variety of reasons from a disease or low sperm count to even an accident. Glad to know that so many research works are going on to identify the proper solution to come out of it. Good, informative article is explained here very beautifully, Thank you for sharing.

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