The effects of diabetes mellitus on male reproductive health have not been clearly defined. A previous publication from this group reported significantly higher levels of nuclear DNA fragmentation and mitochondrial DNA deletions in spermatozoa from men with type 1 diabetes. This study compared semen profiles, sperm DNA fragmentation and levels of oxidative DNA modification in spermatozoa of diabetic and non-diabetic men. Semen samples from 12 non-diabetic, fertile men and 11 type 1 diabetics were obtained and subjected to conventional light microscopic semen analysis. Nuclear DNA fragmentation was assessed using an alkaline Comet assay and concentrations of 7,8-dihydro-8-oxo-2-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), an oxidative adduct of the purine guanosine, were assessed by high-performance liquid chromatography. Conventional semen profiles were similar in both groups, whilst spermatozoa from type 1 diabetics showed significantly higher levels of DNA fragmentation (44% versus 27%; P < 0.05) and concentrations of 8-OHdG (3.6 versus 2.0 molecules of 8-OHdG per 105 molecules of deoxyguanosine; P < 0.05). Furthermore, a positive correlation was observed between DNA fragmentation and concentrations of 8-OHdG per 105 molecules of deoxyguanosine (rs = 0.7, P < 0.05). The genomic damage evident in spermatozoa of type 1 diabetics may have important implications for their fertility and the outcome of pregnancies fathered by these individuals.