Myths, Truths and Treatments of Sperm Allergies
What if you were allergic to your husband’s sperm? This might seem like a cruel joke from nature, but it does happen, and women aren’t the only ones who can be affected – a man can be allergic to his own sperm. “Antisperm antibodies” is the correct term for this misunderstood condition.
Some women fear they may have this condition due to painful intercourse or burning and itching after intimacy. In truth, symptoms like burning, itching or inflammation signal other medical problems such as a genital tract infection.
“The condition known as ‘sperm allergy’ is not really an allergy; it does not make you sneeze,” says Steven Witkin, Ph.D., a professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. “The immune system of some men and women see sperm as a foreign invader, like a germ, and their bodies make antibodies to attack the sperm.” Antisperm antibodies may cause infertility by preventing the sperm from reaching and fertilizing the egg.
Immune Infertility, Sperm Surface Antisperm Antibodies AB
Anti sperm antibodies often are, but not always, associated with testicular surgery or trauma.
The Presence of AB should be suspected in men have a history of Vasovasostomy and vasectomy reversal or other testicular surgery or injuries and when sever Asthenospermia or spontaneous sperm agglutination is observed during routine Semen Examination. Poor sperm penetration in PCT post coital test with normal cervical mucus cross penetration test will help to find out presence of antibodies in he sperm or cervical mucus.
Immune factor covers 10 to 15 % of male infertility as a causative factor, these include the patients in which all seminal parameters are normal but the PCT Post Coital test are poor and there is defective sperm motility also semen shows high level of sperm agglutination. In a couple with Unexplained Infertility as well as when the man having history of vasectomy reversal must be testing of AB Antisperm Antibodies.
Antisperm Antibody AB test : Its very important to find out that weather actual antibodies are present on the sperm itself (over tail, over head ) rather than circulating in blood.
The presence of both IgG and IgA antisperm antibodies are measured on the sperm surface. The results are given in terms of the number of motile sperm affected by antisperm antibodies surface antibodies may affect both movement of the sperm and the ability of the sperm to bind to the oocyte results are clinically significant and positive if more than 50% of sperm are affected by either class of antibody. IgA antibodies are considered of greater clinical significance than IgG.
There are different methods for testing for antibodies. A simple blood test can be done or a more sophisticated test called the immunobead sperm antibody assay. This test looks for antibodies directly attached to the sperm. The recommended treatment is In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) often combined with Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). In the past, similar situations were treated with high doses of steroids. This therapy has been mostly abandoned because of possible severe side effects of administration of corticosteroids, and frequently only short-term improvement of the antibody titer.
Presence of anti-sperm antibodies in men or women does not have any side effects or impact on general health of their carrier