In this medical video learn about a new test that sheds light on the problem of infertility, a frustrating concern for couples trying to conceive.
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Jennifer Mathews: Reno Goodale's career keeps him focused on the lighter side of life. But there's nothing funny about the trouble he and his wife Deborah have had trying to start a family. Deborah: We couldn't get pregnant. We had a really rough time getting pregnant. Jennifer Mathews: It took the Goodale's five years and in-vitro fertilization to have their first child, Alex. For the next three years, they couldn't have a second child and didn't know why. Reno Goodale: Those initial tests showed that there wasn't anything wrong with the appearance of the sperm, with the ability of the sperm to move, they were very mobile, to penetrate an egg. Jennifer Mathews: It turns out Reno had plenty of sperm, but it took a new test to reveal those sperm were sick. Dr. Philip Werthman: The SCSA test stands for Sperm Chomatin Structure Assay, and this is one of several tests that are available to measure the amount of damage in a man's sperm's DNA. Jennifer Mathews: Fertility specialist Dr. Philip Werthman is on the forefront of these new DNA fragmentation tests. On this test, damaged sperm show up as orange. Dr. Philip Werthman: It could be an infection, it could be fever, toxin exposure, it could be a varicocele, which is a very common condition in men. Many of these things are repairable. Jennifer Mathews: Reno was treated with medication and vitamins, and it just may have worked, Deborah got pregnant. This is Jennifer Mathews reporting.