SCSA® Test FAQ's

Sperm Chromatin Structure Assay

SCSA® Test FAQ’s2019-04-17T04:46:17+00:00
What is the SCSA® test?2019-04-17T05:59:33+00:00

The SCSA®, or Sperm Chromatin Structure Assay, is a test for male infertility. It quickly and accurately identifies men who are less likely to achieve a full term pregnancy naturally or with ART. It does this by determining the percentage of sperm with high levels of DNA fragmentation, i.e. the DNA Fragmentation Index (% DFI) as well as the percent of sperm with abnormal proteins (%HDS) and morphology that may inhibit fertilization.

The test is based on well-established research and methods. Developed over the course of more than 20 years, the SCSA® has been the subject of more than 125 articles published in peer-reviewed journals and periodicals.

How soon will I get the results of the test?2017-09-19T10:01:46+00:00

Once we receive the samples for analysis, we assure that the patient and physician will have the results within 7 days.

How can I send my sample for testing?2017-09-19T10:02:13+00:00

Contact Andrology Center to find out about sending samples to the test center.

What is the cost of the SCSA® test?2017-09-19T10:03:17+00:00

Please contact the Andrology Center for the cost of the test.

Do I need to go through a doctor to get the test done?2017-09-19T10:03:48+00:00

No, you could contact Andrology Center directly to order the test.

Is the test painful or invasive?2017-09-19T10:04:34+00:00

No, not at all, like other routine semen analysis tests, a semen sample is collected from the patient and then processed and the results generated as a report for the patient and physician.

Is this a cure for male infertility?2017-09-19T10:05:24+00:00

No, this SCSA® test is a diagnostic test to determine the level of sperm DNA fragmentation, which is a major cause of failed pregnancies.

Is there a limit to the number of times that I can get it done?2017-09-19T10:06:32+00:00

No, there is no limit to the number of times you can have the SCSA®test done. Patients are advised to retest after making certain lifestyle changes or completing prescribed medication.

How are semen samples sent to Andrology Center?2017-09-19T10:07:29+00:00

Semen from an ejaculation after 2-3 days abstinence is collected, transferred into tubes and frozen to be transported to the nearest diagnostic centre.

Where can I get the SCSA® test done in India?2017-09-19T10:08:33+00:00

Andrology Center is the only centre licensed to conduct the SCSA® test in India.

What does the SCSA® Clinical Report show?2017-09-19T10:08:58+00:00

The SCSA® clinical report lists three statistical categories of fertility potential. These were derived from a comprehensive study of male fertility potential without medical interventions and have held true in additional studies.

  • Excellent to Good fertility potential ~<15% DFI
  • Good to Fair fertility potential ~ 15-25.0% DFI
  • Fair to Poor fertility potential ~ >25% DFI

Current data show the probability of a successful pregnancy is significantly reduced when the percentage of sperm with fragmented DNA is >25%. Even so, a DFI25% DFI, he is placed into a statistical group of men that have been shown in clinical studies to take a longer time for natural pregnancy, more IVF cycles, increased rate of spontaneous abortions or no pregnancy.

Who should get the test done?2017-09-19T10:09:23+00:00

Couples with unknown causes of infertility, those that have had failed cycles of IUI/IVF/ICSI, older men, men exposed to environmental or work place pollution or radiation.

When should I get this done?2017-09-19T10:09:49+00:00

The SCSA® test can be done before or after ART cycles (IUI, IVF, ICSI). The results of the analysis will be able to guide couples as well as their physicians to the most suitable fertility treatment option.

Why should I have an SCSA® test done?2017-09-19T10:10:19+00:00

Many trying to conceive couples who look towards various fertility treatments could end up going through a number of rounds of time consuming treatments. Not only is it a waste of precious time, it is also a financial as well as an emotional burden, with unsuccessful outcomes. A simple SCSA® test will help in identifying the most suitable fertility treatment option.

How is the SCSA® test better than others for Sperm DNA fragmentation?2017-09-19T10:10:47+00:00

The SCSA® test is considered the GOLD STANDARD for Sperm DNA analysis. Over the past 20 years, there has been extensive research on more than 100,000 sperm samples from fertility trials of animals and humans. Due to such extensive research the SCSA® test has the most published data of all comparative tests. There are other tests such as TUNEL, COMET and SCD which test for Sperm DNA fragmentation however they give far less reliable clinical data. The SCSA® test unlike most tests that use only a microscope to analyse a very small number of sperm cells, is able to analyse thousands of sperm cells thus giving a more accurate representation of the sperm sample.

Can sperm with normal shape and motility have high levels of DNA fragmentation as assessed by the SCSA® test?2017-09-19T10:11:19+00:00

Although less likely, sperm with normal shape and motility may have high levels of DNA fragmentation. Therefore, the SCSA® identifies male infertility that may not be identified by any conventional semen analysis.

What are the current routine analyses? Why is this better?2017-09-19T10:11:44+00:00

Currently, the routine semen analysis includes measuring sperm count, motility and morphology only. None of these methods report on the actual level of DNA fragmentation in the sperm which is known to be a major cause of unsuccessful pregnancies.

Does the SCSA® test measure sperm chromatin abnormalities other than DNA fragmentation?2017-09-19T10:12:13+00:00

The 23 chromosomes in the sperm head are made up of chromatin, which consists of DNA and proteins. In addition to DFI, the SCSA® test uniquely identifies a fraction of sperm with High DNA Stainability (HDS). HDS sperm are considered to be immature with unprocessed nuclear proteins and/or poorly condensed chromatin. Current data indicate that semen samples with a high percentage of HDS sperm (>15%) may have lower fertilization rates with conventional IVF (but not with ICSI).

Can the SCSA® test measure the sperm DNA fragmentation levels of all men?2017-09-19T10:12:39+00:00

No, SCSA® test results may be inconclusive for men with a very low sperm count (<500,000/ml to 750,000/ml) and/or a high level of seminal debris. Current or prior semen analysis will show sperm density and the presence of seminal debris. Consider these factors before ordering the SCSA® test. If the sperm density is <500,000/ml we will measure the sample, but the patient will still be responsible for the charges if the results are unclear.

Can you treat Sperm DNA Fragmentation?2017-09-19T10:13:05+00:00

Some fertility specialists will recommend intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), because the single sperm can be injected into the egg for fertilization. Other fertility doctors will attempt to avoid ICSI and try to decrease sperm DNA fragmentation to a level that is compatible with natural fertility.

    Some recommendations to reduce sperm fragmentation and boost male fertility include:

  • Keep the testes cool — no hot tubs or long hot baths, and wear boxer shorts
  • Stop smoking.
  • Eat a diet rich in antioxidants because oxidative stress is the primary culprit for breaking DNA.
  • Avoid some medications such as cortisone and SSRIs.
  • Get examined for urogenital infections.
  • Eat a healthy diet full of colorful fruits and vegetables.

Ask your doctor about supplementary vitamins and antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, co-enzyme Q-10 and supplements containing carnitine.

What causes elevated levels of Sperm DNA Fragmentation?2017-09-19T10:13:41+00:00

There are a number of potential causes of sperm DNA fragmentation. It may be the result of many factors including, but not limited to oxidative stress, elevated testicular temperature, high fever, smoking, diet, drug use, exposure to pesticides and chemicals, exposure to radiation and chemotherapy, age and prescription medicines including antidepressants.

What is HDS?2017-09-19T10:14:15+00:00

High DNA Stainability or HDS sperm are considered to be immature with unprocessed nuclear proteins and/or poorly condensed chromatin. Current data indicate that semen samples with a high percentage of HDS sperm (>15%) may have lower fertilization rates with conventional IVF (but not with ICSI).

Does a high DFI value mean that I can never have a child?2017-09-19T10:14:47+00:00

No, a high DFI value is only indicative of the current quality of the sperm DNA. With certain lifestyle changes and medications the quality of the sperm can be changed over time.

What is DNA Fragmentation Index (DFI)?2017-09-19T10:15:21+00:00

DNA Fragmentation Index (DFI) is the measure of sperm DNA fragmentation and is an indicator of sperm quality. A DFI of less than 15% indicates excellent to good fertility, while a DFI between 15-25% indicates only good to fair fertility. DFI values greater than 25% indicate fair to poor fertility.

What is Sperm DNA Fragmentation and why is this important?2017-09-19T10:16:02+00:00

Sperm DNA fragmentation is higher in infertile men compared to fertile men. The genetic material within the sperm is tightly packaged, but susceptible to damage and breaks by various means. The structure of the DNA could be imagined as a ladder made up of side rails and rungs. If there is a break in either the rungs or the side rails, the ladder is unsteady and cannot function properly. Such breaks in the DNA of the sperm is referred to as Sperm DNA Fragmentation and can lead to impaired sperm function resulting in unsuccessful pregnancies.

How does the SCSA® test help with diagnosing male infertility?2017-09-19T10:16:42+00:00

The SCSA® test measures the levels of Sperm DNA fragmentation. It is the most robust test to date for measuring sperm DNA fragmentation.

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