Turner KA, Rambhatla A, Schon S, Agarwal A, Krawetz SA, Dupree JM, and Avidor-Reiss T. Male infertility is a women’s health issue—research and clinical evaluation of male infertility is needed. Cells 2020; 9(4).
Infertility is a devastating experience for both partners as they try to conceive. Historically, when a couple could not conceive, the woman has carried the stigma of infertility; however, men and women are just as likely to contribute to the couple's infertility. With the development of assisted reproductive technology (ART), the treatment burden for male and unexplained infertility has fallen mainly on women. Equalizing this burden requires reviving research on male infertility to both improve treatment options and enable natural conception. Despite many scientific efforts, infertility in men due to sperm dysfunction is mainly diagnosed by a semen analysis. The semen analysis is limited as it only examines general sperm properties such as concentration, motility, and morphology. A diagnosis of male infertility rarely includes an assessment of internal sperm components such as DNA, which is well documented to have an impact on infertility, or other components such as RNA and centrioles, which are beginning to be adopted. Assessment of these components is not typically included in current diagnostic testing because available treatments are limited. Recent research has expanded our understanding of sperm biology and suggests that these components may also contribute to the failure to achieve pregnancy. Understanding the sperm's internal components, and how they contribute to male infertility, would provide avenues for new therapies that are based on treating men directly for male infertility, which may enable less invasive treatments and even natural conception.