Men living with diabetes are more likely to be infertile than healthy, non-diabetic individuals, according to preliminary findings from scientists in India.
The findings show that diabetes more than doubles the risk of DNA damage in sperms, which can significantly reduce sperm count and cause infertility .
Dr Firuza Parikh, of Jaslok Hospital in Mumbai, and colleagues conducted various laboratory tests to examine the sperm count, motility (ability of the sperm to move towards the egg) and morphology (sperm structure) in 60 people with newly diagnosed diabetes and 78 healthy patients, aged between 27 and 45 years.
The researchers found that DNA damage among those with diabetes was 15.9 per cent, compared to 6.4 per cent in non-diabetic group.
They also discovered that in diabetic men, motility, which leads to conceptio, was far lower (22% versus 46%); sperm count was less (26 million/ml versus 59 million/ml); and morphology – an important indicator of infertility was higher, with 92% of diabetic men having abnormal sperm structure as opposed to 11% of their healthy counterparts.
One of the reasons behind the “extremely alarming” results, according to Dr Parikh, is that diabetes causes oxidative stress, which releases ions in the body that accelerate the natural process of cell death and damage the DNA of sperm.
She added that previous studies have shown that couples comprising diabetic men may take more time to conceive and may also be at higher risk of miscarriage.

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