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Gynecology

Is Sperm Agglutination Permanent?

11/24/2010

Question:

Hello,

I recently recieved the results of my fiance`s semen analysis. He was said to have agglutinated sperm, and that if we wanted to have children we would have to do insemination. Upon researching sperm agglutination, I have seen that there are several causes for agglutination, one of them being infection.

During a brief separation from each other, one of us contracted Chlamydia and passed it to the other. We were both treated, and were informed to abstain from sex for two weeks. Almost three weeks after we found out and were treated was when he gave his semen sample for analysis.

My question is this: Could the STD be the cause of the agglutination, and since the infection is treated and gone, will his sperm return back to normal? Or should we assume that the STD would have done permanent damage, which will cause his sperm to be permanentally agglutinated?

He is currently overseas in Afghanistan, so another sample is not in the picture until March/April of next year. I would like to know because I am really hoping the agglutination doesn`t last forever.

Thank you so much for your time.

Answer:

Sperm agglutination (sperm sticking together) can be temporary (related to infection) or a persistent problem (usually related to anti-sperm antibodies in the male).

After both partners have been tested and treated for infections, the semen analysis should be repeated. Persistent sperm agglutination can sometimes be treated successfully with antibiotics or sperm washing and insemination.

However, since antibodies cannot be washed off sperm and they can interfere with fertilization, in some cases in vitro fertilization with sperm injection will be necessary to achieve pregnancy.

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Response by:

William W Hurd, MD William W Hurd, MD
Professor of Reproductive Biology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University