Men and women may face many different hurdles to pregnancy. Given the different causes of male and female infertility, our Lubbock, TX clinic prides itself on advanced fertility testing. Proper diagnosis of infertility will lead to a better, fully tailored treatment.
While low sperm count and poor egg quality are both contributing factors to many instances of infertility, there are some cases in which your own immune system is making it harder to become pregnant. With that in mind, let’s consider antisperm antibodies and what can be done about them.
About Antisperm Antibodies
First things first in case you weren’t aware already, antibodies are a blood protein that the body produces to respond to unwanted substances in your body. This includes bacteria, viruses, and other foreign substances. These are necessary for proper bodily function and to promote wellness, but there is a potential drawback to consider.
Antisperm antibodies are proteins that attack sperm. Rather than targeting harmful foreign substances in the body, these antibodies eliminate sperm. As you can imagine, this can impact sperm count and sperm quality, resulting in a much more difficult time conceiving through natural means.
Antisperm Antibodies Can Exist in Men and Women
These antiserum antibodies can exist in both men and women. In either instance, this is usually considered immunologic infertility since it involves an issue with the immune system.
In men, the antisperm antibodies severely impact sperm count and sperm motility. This seriously reduces the chances of men being able to conceive a child.
In women, the presence of sperm in the uterus following intercourse is treated as a threat. Antibodies in the vaginal fluid can kill sperm before they have a chance to travel to a waiting egg and fertilize it.
When Is Testing Recommended?
If you have experienced difficulty conceiving with your partner for at least a year, it’s typically a good idea to meet with your doctor or a fertility specialist to determine what issues you may be facing. It could be antisperm antibodies or perhaps a combination of factors that make conception so difficult.
Direct Testing for Antisperm Antibodies
Direct testing for antisperm antibodies involves taking a semen sample and examining the potential presence of harmful antibodies in that sample. This also gives fertility specialists a chance to note other issues with sperm quality or semen quality that may impact fertility.
Indirect Testing for Antispem Antibodies
Indirect testing for antisperm antibodies can test both men and women for the presence of these harmful proteins.
A blood sample is taken from one or both partners and analyzed to determine if there are antisperm antibodies in their system. This typically involves incubating the blood sample with a semen sample to see how both interact.
Developing a Treatment Plan Following These Tests
If it’s determined that antisperm antibodies are the cause of your infertility, a fertility specialist can then determine the most ideal plan of action to help with conception.
For men, it may be important to consider immunosuppressant drugs or therapies to help improve sperm count or sperm quality. If this is not an ideal option, one may consider the use of a sperm donor or other potential resources through our clinic.
For women, the best option may be intrauterine insemination (IUI) which helps sperm bypass any antiserum antibodies in your cervical mucus. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is another possibility to consider as this can further increase your chances of pregnancy.
Learn More About Infertility Treatment Options
For more information about treating infertility and helping you start the family you have always wanted, be sure to contact our team of fertility treatment specialists. We will work closely with you to ensure you get the answers you need and the most effective treatment possible.