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Diabetes said linked to more faulty sperm

Diabetes is linked to a higher level of damaged sperm and may affect fertility, a study found.

Diabetics had higher levels of so-called fragmented sperm, 52 percent, compared with 32 percent in men who didn't have the disease, according to the study, which was published online today by the journal Human Reproduction. Fragmented sperm contains broken DNA.

Lead researcher Ishola Agbaje from Queen's University in Belfast examined sperm from 27 diabetic men with an average age of 34 and 29 healthy men with an average age of 33. Besides the fragmentation, they found that diabetic men had more deleted areas in their DNA. Sperm disorders may contribute to infertility in as many as half of couples trying to conceive, Agbaje said.

People with diabetes either don't produce enough insulin or can't use what they have. Without insulin, cells can't properly process glucose, or blood sugar.

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