Myths, truths, and treatments of sperm allergies
The presence of these antibodies doesn’t mean a couple can’t have a baby. There are several treatments available for men and women with antisperm antibodies.
Steriod treatment: Many men and women with this condition jumpstart their fertility with steroid treatment. This can temporarily lower antibody levels and increase the odds of conception.
Intrauterine insemination: Another option is intrauterine insemination (IUI) combined with an agent to induce ovulation. In this procedure, specially-prepared sperm are inserted into the uterus around the time of ovulation. IUI is less complex and cheaper than the third option for treating the antibodies—in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
“Other treatments [for antisperm antibodies] like prolonged antibiotic therapy, use of a condom for a period of time, or washing the sperm are totally ineffective,” says Dr. Witkin. A couple’s doctor can present and discuss the viable treatment options in more detail. Some of the procedures are costly, so couples should check with their insurance company for coverage information.
A True Allergy
There are rare cases of women who have a true allergy to seminal fluid, the non-sperm component of the ejaculate. These women may go into shock after sexual intercourse, and the condition can be life-threatening. When avoiding conception, these couples use condoms. Artificial insemination, where seminal fluid is separated from sperm, is recommended if the couple wishes to conceive.
For couples with antisperm antibodies, successful conception can take place. After three IUIs, Cole conceived. Later, she and her husband learned that three was their lucky number. Now the proud mother of triplets, Cole says, “It is amazing to be remembering those feelings I had then. Especially now that I have three newborns here with me.”
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