Infertile men undergoing intracytoplasmic sperm injection have an increased frequency of chromosome abnormalities in their sperm. Men with low sperm concentration (oligozoospermia) have an increased risk of sperm chromosome abnormalities. This study was initiated to determine whether men with severe oligozoospermia (<106 sperm/ml) have a higher frequency of chromosome abnormalities in their sperm compared with men with moderate (1–9 × 106 sperm/ml) or mild (10–19 × 106 sperm/ml) oligozoospermia. Multicolor fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis was performed using DNA probes specific for chromosomes 13, 21, X, and Y (with chromosome 1 as an autosomal control for the sex chromosomes). Aneuploidy and disomy frequencies were assessed from a total of 603 011 sperm from 30 men: 10 in each of the categories. The mean frequencies of disomy for the patients with mild, moderate, and severe oligozoospermia were 0.17%, 0.24%, and 0.30%, respectively, for chromosome 13 and 0.22%, 0.44%, and 0.58%, respectively, for chromosome 21. For the sex chromosomes, the mean frequencies of disomy for mild, moderate, and severe oligozoospermia were 0.25%, 1.04%, and 0.68%, respectively, for XY, 0.047%, 0.08%, and 0.10%, respectively, for XX, and 0.04%, 0.06%, and 0.09%, respectively, for YY. The frequencies for diploidy also increased from 0.4% for mild to 1.20% for moderate to 1.24% for severe oligozoospermia. There was a significant inverse correlation between the frequency of sperm chromosome abnormalities and the sperm concentration for XY, XX, and YY disomy and diploidy. These results demonstrate that men with severe oligozoospermia have an elevated risk for chromosome abnormalities in their sperm, particularly sex chromosome abnormalities.
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