Up to 40 percent of men are infertile for no apparent reason, and may spend months or years trying for a baby with no luck. Picture: PxHere

London - A breakthrough test could help men to discover if they are infertile.

It could detect those who may struggle to have children because stress, alcohol or a poor diet has altered their DNA.

Up to 40 percent of men are infertile for no apparent reason, and may spend months or years trying for a baby with no luck. These men have a normal sperm count, but their sperm may contain chemically altered DNA. If this is found early it can allow them to start IVF straight away.

The test has so far been tried out on only 21 men in the US, but was able to identify the majority who were infertile. It could also single out those who would respond to a hormone jab to boost sperm production. 

In 2017, the fertility rate in South Africa amounted to 2.43 children per woman, according to www.statista.com/.

Sheffield University professor Allan Pacey said: "The current test of trying to look at sperm down the microscope was developed in the 1950s and is quite inaccurate." 

The US researchers recruited 12 infertile men and nine who had no problems to try the new test. It is based on the fact the environment can cause chemical changes to DNA, which can switch genes on or off.

Dr Michael Skinner, of Washington State University, said: "Having a diagnostic that tells you right away your male patient is infertile... would be immensely useful."

Daily Mail