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Objective: This exploratory retrospective study aimed to compare the level of Sperm DNA Fragmentation (SDF) and investigate its association with bulk semen parameters, for the first time in Bulgarian patients with varicocele, using a distinct methodology.
Material and methods: Standard semen analysis was performed according to the 2010 criteria of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology - Nordic Association for Andrology (ESHRE-NAFA-2010) and DNA fragmentation was assessed using the Halosperm® kit. The total sample included 28 males: the control group consisted of men with normal genital examination and unknown fertility (n = 10), group one consisted of men with varicocele, normozoospermia and DNA fragmentation > 15% (n = 9) and group two consisted of men with varicocele, abnormal sperm parameters and DNA fragmentation > 15% (n = 9).
Results: DNA fragmentation was found to be higher in patients with abnormal sperm parameters (43.78 ± 30.78) compared to the normozoospermic group (21.22 ± 3.93) (p = 0.008). In normozoospermic patients, no statistically significant correlations were observed between SDF and bulk semen parameters. In patients with abnormal sperm parameters, DNA fragmentation exhibited significant very strong negative association with motility (a+b), vitality and typical morphology (p < 0.001).
Conclusions: DNA integrity assays could be used for a better evaluation and management of male infertility, particularly in normozoospermic varicocele patients.