Studies on the Genetic Basis of Male Infertility

Studies on the genetic basis of male and idiopathic infertility, and the trans-generational health of children conceived through ART

A/Prof Moira O’Bryan1, Prof Robert McLachlan2,3, Prof Andrew Sinclair4; Dr Alicia Oshlack4

1Dept. Anatomy and Developmental Biology, Monash University; 2Hudson Institute of Medical Research, Clayton; 3Monash IVF, Clayton; 4The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Infertility affects about one in twenty Australian men, and is a contributing factor to half of all assisted reproduction treatment cycles. Male infertility is often due to the failure of the testes to produce enough sperm capable of fertilisation. In many cases, infertility can be caused by a genetic defect in the man that he is otherwise unaware of.  The development of ICSI technology allow sperm that are incapable of fertilising normally to produce a successful pregnancy. However there is a possibility that infertility-causing genetic abnormalities can be inherited by the man’s children, particularly boys, putting them at a higher risk of infertility.

Our scientists are involved in a large research effort aimed to investigate whether infertility-causing genetic abnormalities can be passed from a father to his children, and what impact this could have on his children’s fertility. These long-term studies will enable doctors to better counsel infertile men as to their treatment options and potential risk of infertility in their children.

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