thread: Allergic to sperm??

  1. #1
    Registered User
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    Jan 2005
    cowtown
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    Allergic to sperm??

    A friend of mine has 4 girls, and she has been told by more than one carer that its highly likley that this is becuase she is allergic to her husbands sperm??
    Has anyone heard of this? She laughed the first time she was told but when the next doctor suggested the same thing she took it a bit more seriously.

    I've never heard of it before?


  2. #2
    Registered User

    Jul 2008
    Melbourne
    273

    Hi,

    My DH has anti-sperm antibodies, in which his own immune system attacks his sperm. Apparently women can have anti-sperm antibodies as well but this ususally result in preventing her conceiving at all.

    Base on this, I would imagine it feasible for one's body (either husband or wife) to have an immune response (alergy or total rejection) of the y chromosome which meant only x chromosomes make it through to fertilisation and beyond.

  3. #3
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    May 2008
    Capalaba, QLD
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    For what it's worth, I got a cold/flu symptoms about a week after every insemination I had with my clinic (the only contact I've had with sperm)... I figured I was mildly allergic.

  4. #4
    Registered User

    Feb 2008
    1,163

    I have heard of this before... in a pop culture reference rather than a medical one ...

    There was an episode in Sex and the City where Charlotte found out that she was allergic to Trey's sperm and thus was having great difficulty conceiving.

    Who knew trashy TV could be so educational!

    Seriously though, glad your friend managed some successful conceptions (and I really did love 'Sex and the city'!!!)

  5. #5
    Registered User

    Jan 2009
    Perth
    276

    i work with chromosomes and i have never heard of anyone being allergic to a particular chromosome. i may be wrong but i cannot find any evidence on the net of people being allergic to the y chromosome.
    if she was allergic i don't think she would conceive easily, but this wouldn't mean she could only fall pregnant with females.
    interesting topic though.

  6. #6
    Registered User

    Dec 2007
    Victoria
    7,260

    I know it exists, but was under the impression that it was more to do with the CM or something and the sperm. The body attacks sperm as a foreign body, not the chromosome itself. Not sure if it has anything to do with the seminal fluid as well though? And this led to the problem of conception as the mucous effectively kills the sperm before it gets to the egg...not sure how you get only girls though!

    I could e completely off-base, would love to know!
    I have no experience with it though, just bits and bobs of *maybe* information

  7. #7
    BellyBelly Member

    Nov 2004
    VIC
    1,794

    One of the Fertility tests i had to have was a post-coital test to make sure that the sperm wernt being killed by me. It was a delightful test- to check if DH had 'hostile sperm' - so yeah i guess you can be allergic to sperm.

  8. #8
    Registered User

    Oct 2007
    Middle Victoria
    8,924

    I don't know about only being allergic to males sperm though. You need sperm to make girl babies too.

    Could be just statistics, every baby has .5 chance of being a boy and .5 chance of being a girl. Or, maybe they are more in the mood couple days before the woman ovulates each month (girl sperm last longer).

    4 girl babies in a row isn't statistically 'out there' enough to make a call like that without other evidence.

  9. #9
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    May 2008
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    I read somewhere that the Y sperm are slightly faster and the X sperm are slightly hardier, which balance each other out to give a 50/50 chance of either being first to the egg... but if you have CM which is slightly less hospitable then it makes sense that there would be more X's surviving... Also with certain assisted conception technologies, more boys are produced because the hard work is taken out of the equation, so speed wins over hardiness.

  10. #10

    Nov 2007
    Earth
    4,434

    I'm the eldest of 4 girls (no brothers), but my Dad is the eldest of 3 boys (no sisters). Strangely enough, his brother also has a daughter but no son, and my sister has a son but no daughter - I thinking it's probably a genetic quirk

  11. #11
    Registered User

    Jan 2008
    Country Victoria
    1,991

    I'm the eldest of 4 girls (no brothers), but my Dad is the eldest of 3 boys (no sisters). Strangely enough, his brother also has a daughter but no son, and my sister has a son but no daughter - I thinking it's probably a genetic quirk
    Funny you say that because my Mum is the eldest of 4 girls and between the 4 sisters they have 10 kids, 5 boys and 5 girls and then grandchildren is 2 boys, 2 girls oops forgot my newborn nephew, 3 boys.

    Interesting topic, I see how an allergic reaction to sperm may be very possible, but not so sure about that resulting in female children only, if anything a reaction to the chromosome rather than the sperm itself.

  12. #12
    Registered User

    Dec 2007
    Victoria
    7,260

    Antisperm Antibodies
    Myths, Truths and Treatments of Sperm Allergies

    By Kendeyl Johansen

    What if you were allergic to your husband's sperm? This might seem like a cruel joke from nature, but it does happen, and women aren't the only ones who can be affected – a man can be allergic to his own sperm. "Antisperm antibodies" is the correct term for this misunderstood condition.

    Some women fear they may have this condition due to painful intercourse or burning and itching after intimacy. In truth, symptoms like burning, itching or inflammation signal other medical problems such as a genital tract infection.

    "The condition known as 'sperm allergy' is not really an allergy; it does not make you sneeze," says Steven Witkin, Ph.D., a professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. "The immune system of some men and women see sperm as a foreign invader, like a germ, and their bodies make antibodies to attack the sperm." Antisperm antibodies may cause infertility by preventing the sperm from reaching and fertilizing the egg.

    Indeed, infertility in one or both partners is the only symptom of antisperm antibodies. Infertility is generally diagnosed after a couple has tried to conceive for more than one year.

    "I was terrified when I first heard the words 'sperm allergy,'" says Pregnancy Today diary writer Tammy Cole. "I very clearly remember looking at the slide under the microscope with the doctor and seeing tons of sperm – but nothing moving. I knew that could not be good news."

    "Antisperm antibodies may be a complicating factor in as much as 5 to 10 percent of infertility cases," says Witkin. He adds that almost all men who have undergone a vasectomy (surgical operation that causes sterility) produce antisperm antibodies after the procedure. If he undergoes a vasectomy reversal, the antisperm antibodies will interfere with conception.

    ...

    So what causes the immune system to make antisperm antibodies? A genital tract infection, a congenital abnormality in the male genital tract, a vasectomy (as mentioned above) or a varicocoele (a varicose vein in the testicles) can cause these antibodies to develop. Wives of men with abnormal sperm are also at increased risk for developing antisperm antibodies.

    ....

    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.
    This is from preconception.com


    There is also a separate semen allergy, which can be quite severe in the true very rare cases, can be life threatening apparently!
    If you google sperm allergy, there is heaps of info. None that I have read says ANYTHING about this being a reason for single gendered offspring traits. It only mentions the difficulty of conceiving at all, the methods such as IUI that are most effective for couples that have the issue of anti sperm antibodies.

    I was interested though in the refernce to the vasectomy causing these antibodies in most men who undergo the procedure, hence the difficulty of the reversal equating to ability to fertilise.


    If your friend wants to know for sure though there are tests that are specifically for this allergy, although given that they have had no trouble conceiving, a doctor would be hesitant in ordering them, they would have to pay for them.