What Is Sperm Agglutination?
Sperm agglutination is a condition in the male reproductive system where sperm cells stick to one another, and is not to be confused with other conditions where sperm sticks to other cells or objects. Agglutination is typically determined by a semen analysis.
1. Sperm agglutination often occurs following a reversal of a vasectomy. It can also be caused by inflammatory conditions like prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate).
2. With inflammatory conditions, an increased number of white blood cells in the semen causes the sperm to stick together. With other conditions, there are specific antisperm antibodies present that cause the agglutination.
Agglutination of spermatozoa means that motile spermatozoa stick to each other, head to head, midpiece to midpiece, tail to tail, or mixed, e.g. midpiece to tail. The adherence of either immotile or motile spermatozoa to mucus threads, to cells other than spermatozoa, or to debris is not considered agglutination and should not be recorded as such (6, 24, 25).
The presence of agglutination is suggestive of, but not sufficient evidence to prove the existence of an immunological factor of fertility (6, 24, 25). The extent of agglutination may be important but even the presence of only a few groups of small numbers of agglutinated spermatozoa should be recorded. In case of agglutination, sperm culture must be performed in order to exclude infection with e.g. Escheria coli. Sperm agglutination could be used also as indication for antisperm antibody testing of infertile men (6, 10).
• Sperm can adhere to one another in a variety of ways: from head to head, tail to tail and middle to middle as well as combinations like head to tail. The amount of agglutination can vary from small groups to large amounts.
• The most significant effects of sperm agglutination are fertility problems, as the agglutination keeps the sperm from effectively reaching and fertilizing the egg. However, a small amount of agglutinated sperm does not automatically equal infertility.
Sperm clumping or agglutination.
Sperm clumping or agglutination means that many sperm stick together in groups or clusters. This impairs sperm motility and prevents the sperm from swimming up to through the cervix towards the egg.