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This chapter focuses specifically on how apoptosis affects sperm quality and function, and the implications of this process for both embryonic development and the health and well-being of the offspring. DNA damage in human spermatozoa has been correlated with poor fertilization and impaired embryonic development to the blastocyst stage as well as with the incidence of subsequent miscarriage. Human infertility is a complex multifactorial condition that is strongly impacted by genetic factors that assisted reproductive technology (ART) will ensure are passed onto the progeny. Spermiogenesis is a key event in the etiology of DNA damage in the male germ line. DNA damage in human spermatozoa appears to have its origins in the testes and is associated with oxidative stress. Spermatozoa possess several variants of the prolactin receptor and respond to the presence of this hormone with the stimulation of PI3 kinase/Akt phosphorylation and the prolongation of sperm survival.
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