Oxidative stress occurs when the production of potentially destructive reactive oxygen species (ROS) exceeds the body’s own natural antioxidant defences, resulting in cellular damage. Spermatozoa oxidative stress is intimately linked to several reproductive pathologies including the failure of spermatozoa cryopreservation and spermatozoa-egg recognition and fertilization. In this light, this review focuses on (i) the effects of oxidative stress on spermatozoa and application of antioxidants; (ii) production of ROS during cryopreservation; and (iii) oxidative stress in male infertility. This literature describes both a physiological and a pathological role of ROS in fertility. A delicate balance between ROS necessary for physiological activity and antioxidants to protect from cellular oxidative injury is essential for fertility.
Part of the book: Free Radical Medicine and Biology