A recent study published in the Science Transitional Medicine journal has pinpointed a major contributor to male infertility.
According to the study led by the University of California at Davis, "men can carry a defective gene" for a specific protein, protein DEFB126, which assists sperm in reaching the egg by giving it the ability to travel through cervical mucus. When men carry this defective gene, it can greatly affect their fertility, hindering the sperm's ability to travel through the mucus.
Typically, sperm tests are conducted to examine a male's fertility and look for the quality and quantity of sperm to determine any potential issues. With this particular study, researchers were able to find the missing link in those cases where male infertility was virtually unexplainable and sperm was found to be healthy and abundant. When scientists added the missing protein to sperm that otherwise looked healthy, it resulted in the sperm being able to once again act normal and travel through cervical mucus to the egg.
The findings, which included researchers from Anhui Medical University in China, the University of Leicester in England, the University of Illinois in Chicago, and the Simon Fraser University in Canada, took samples from males in the US, UK, China, Japan and Africa, and discovered roughly 50 percent of men carry one defective copy of the gene and 25 percent carry two defective copies.
The research team behind this study plan to continue their examination of the gene within the US and hope to reveal its ongoing role in unexplained infertility among men. You can read more here.