Both women and men can develop an immune reaction to sperm, known as sperm allergy.
This is manifested by the appearance of antibodies that affect sperm motility, impeding fertilization.
20-40% of couples with this condition manage to conceive by artificial insemination or other fertility treatments.
What sometimes causes allergic reactions to sperm are the proteins contained in it. What exactly and in what way it interacts with the body of the sexual partner remains to be discovered in the future.
Although the reasons why women have allergic reactions to sperm are not elucidated, men develop antibodies against their own sperm when it comes into contact with blood, most often due to a vasectomy, infection or accident.
Since the two liquids are not physiologically in contact, the blood acts by forming antibodies against the sperm.
Symptoms are usually non-existent except for fertility problems. A sensation of itching may result from sexual intercourse.
Women who have Sperm Allergy are usually suspected especially if the symptoms disappear when using a condom or in the case of abstinence.
Treatment of sperm allergy
Patients with sperm allergy should wear a kit with injectable epinephrine that they can administer on their own in the event of a reaction. Epinephrine (adrenaline) is the main treatment in allergic reactions.
In addition, for this there is a treatment by immunotherapy, meant to eliminate the body's allergic reactions against sperm.
Intravaginal seminal gradual challenge. This technique is based on the administration of semen samples in the vagina, every 20 minutes, starting with a very dilute concentration which will then be gradually increased.
The technique must be combined with frequent sexual intercourse (two, three times a week) to achieve favorable results.
When the ISGC does not work, another method may be used injection of a small amount of sperm under the skin, at regular intervals, for several weeks, treatment similar to that for allergic rhinitis or anaphylactic shock - a severe reaction to the allergen that can be fatal.
About 50% of women with sperm allergy have other allergic conditions, such as skin allergies or allergic rhinitis. The disease affects women between 20 and 30 years, and 41% accuse the symptoms from the first sexual contact.
Women may conceive after the disease is removed, or they may resort to artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization.
In some women the reactions occur in one partner, while others are allergic to all partners.
Does sperm allergy lead to infertility?
If you are trying to conceive a baby and your life partner develops this kind of allergic reaction to sperm you should not worry because no connection between allergy and infertility has been established. As long as the condom is used during sexual intercourse, women will be able to successfully undergo IVF.
Diagnosis of sperm allergy
Sperm allergies are often misdiagnosed as herpes or other genital disorders and patients are often subjected to unnecessary interventions.
One of the most handy tests to determine the presence or absence of an allergy is to use a condom and track the evolution of symptoms.
Various methods of fertility treatment are available for couples with this condition:
- Injections into the skin with proteins contained in the partner's sperm to identify the source of the allergy. Concentrations are also graded increasing with each dose.
- Vaginal injections with semen diluted in increasing concentrations.
- Artificial insemination with sperm passed through a deproteinization process.
- Immunosuppressive drugs such as cortisone can be used given the similarity with common allergies. However, this method remains a controversial one.
Tags Infertility for women Infertility for men