Infertility currently affects approximately 15% of couples of reproductive age and the incidence is growing, with male-factor contributing to as much as 50% of infertility issues [1, 2]. As infertility continues to develop into a growing concern, there is a need to better understand and identify the causes of male-factor infertility.

D. Benjamin, BA • R.K. Sharma, PhD • A. Moazzam, MD

Center for Reproductive Medicine, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA

e-mail: [email protected]

Center for Reproductive Medicine, Cleveland Clinic, Lerner College of Medicine, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA e-mail: [email protected]

A. Agarwal et al. (eds.), Studies on Men's Health and Fertility, Oxidative Stress 257

in Applied Basic Research and Clinical Practice, DOI 10.1007/978-1-61779-776-7_13, © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Suboptimal sperm quality is a major concern for male-factor infertility, and one of the underlying causes of suboptimal sperm quality is attributed to the presence of reactive oxygen species (ROS) [3] . Although the human body naturally produces free oxygen radicals and ROS in physiological amount, essential for capacitation, hyperactivation, acrosome reaction, and oocyte fusion, an excess of ROS can be harmful to male gametes. Several studies have demonstrated that an excess of ROS, which leads to the state of oxidative stress, affects spermatozoa motility and viability, oocytes, as well as rates of fertilization and pregnancy [3-6]. There are several techniques currently used in the clinical andrology laboratory to quantify the amount of ROS in a patient's semen sample, including the chemiluminescence assay. Several recent studies have identified reference values for ROS in order to diagnose male infertility, and these reference values continue to be refined with the publication of new studies. Measurement of ROS can be used as a diagnostic tool in identifying the underlying etiology of idiopathic or unexplained infertility. In order for clinical andrology labs to better assist patients experiencing issues with infertility, it is important to understand ROS and the techniques, such as the chemiluminescence assay, which are employed to detect ROS.

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