Can Fertility Be Genetic?

Genetics are known to influence fertility, and there are several types of inherited disorders, including Trisomy 16, Trisomy 21, and Down syndrome. While trisomies are not always fatal, some can be incompatible with life. Duplications of small groups of genes can also cause infertility and fetal loss.

Male infertility

It has been shown that structural variants in the Y chromosome affect spermatogenesis and can result in male infertility. Using next-generation sequencing technologies, researchers have pinpointed specific genes associated with male infertility. This has led to an increased understanding of the genetic basis of male infertility.

The X-chromosome contains a gene known as the androgen receptor (AR), which is responsible for human sexual development. Deficiencies in this gene result in a reduction in androgen secretion and infertility. In patients with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome, mutations in this gene cause infertility and sex reversal.

Genetic testing

Genetic fertility testing can help determine whether a couple is able to conceive a child. Genetic testing is also helpful for detecting certain conditions, including cystic fibrosis and male infertility. There are various guidelines for genetic fertility testing, which include a karyotype blood test. These tests evaluate a woman’s DNA and look for 49 specific genetic variants. The test’s report will tell you how likely you are to develop certain conditions, such as a chromosome expansion or a low sperm count.

Genetic carrier screening is another way to check for genetic diseases. These tests are available for couples who have a family history of specific diseases. These tests can help couples improve their chances of conception by reducing the risk of miscarriage.

X chromosome mutations

Although X chromosome mutations are rare, they are associated with several reproductive issues. Specifically, X chromosome mutations can affect fertility and are associated with low sperm count. Men inherit their X chromosome from their mothers. However, the X chromosome is not the only genetic factor that can cause infertility.

Males’ hemizygosity may be responsible for the distinctive evolutionary patterns of X-linked genes. These unique patterns can favor positive selection of advantageous variants. For example, males’ X chromosomes are enriched with spermatogonia-expressed genes. As a result, X-linked genes have undergone rapid evolutionary changes, a process referred to as ‘Ohno’s law’. X chromosomes are also subject to rapid changes during mammalian evolution.

PCOS

While PCOS is a common endocrine disorder among women, a recent study suggests that PCOS and fertility can be genetic. The study included twins who were monozygotic and examined biochemical and clinical parameters. The results showed that about 50% of the twins had polycystic ovarian morphology. This research provides new insights into the causes of PCOS, as well as new opportunities for treatment.

Identifying the determining gene for PCOS has been a challenging task. Currently, there are no universally accepted diagnostic criteria. Additionally, the mode of inheritance is unclear. However, the use of genome-wide scans, such as the HapMap project, may improve the quality of genetic studies.

Endometriosis

Genetics plays a role in many medical conditions, including endometriosis. Women who have close relatives with endometriosis are likely to have more severe symptoms. However, the exact relationship between the two diseases is not known. Several genetic studies have been conducted in women with endometriosis and those without it.

In one study, women with endometriosis were significantly more likely to be related to each other than women without the disease. If a woman has a first-degree relative with endometriosis, she’s five times more likely to develop the disease herself. If she has a second or third-degree relative with endometriosus, the risk increases to fifty percent.