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Sperm antibodies are antibodies against sperm formed by the immune system. They can occur with the woman, as well as with the man. Increasingly, sperm antibodies are a potential cause of infertility.

When the woman's immune system produces antibodies to the man's sperm, the man's sperm are neutralized before they can fertilize the egg.

One disputed cause is the ingestion of the pill and the associated unprotected intercourse, which results in the woman having frequent contact with the semen. The sperm is then recognized as a foreign protein by the immune system.

Sperm antibodies can be detected via a blood test or in cervical mucus. Also important here is the assessment of the postcoital test.

But sperm antibodies were also increasingly observed in the man himself. This leads to an absurd reaction of the immune system in that it forms antibodies against the own sperm and thus blocks their activity. This causes the sperm in their mobility and vitality are restricted or completely blocked. This can be proven in the ejaculate by the so-called MAR test.

If sperm antibodies occur in men, this must be treated in the same way as a basic allergic reaction and can be very well neutralized with antisense treatment.

If sperm antibodies occur in the woman against the sperm of the man, a special antibody neutralization of the woman against certain immune cells of the man is necessary. So a normal and natural fertilization is possible again.

The treatment according to this immunological principle is also indicated in women who suffer from unclear rheumatoid inflammatory complaints, as very often sperm antibodies trigger inflammatory complexes, repeatedly activated by sexual intercourse and re-contact with the sperm. Again, autoantibody desensitization and immunotherapies are very successful.

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What are sperm antibodies? Detection and medical treatment of anti-sperm antibodies. Innovations of reproductive immunology in Germany. Assisted reproductive techniques with higher success rates. Learn more about the causes of sperm antibodies 2020-03-11 Sperm Antibodies
Sperm Antibodies
Sperm antibodies

A multitude of factors may cause male infertility. Sometimes a combination of factors is responsible for absence of pregnancy in a female partner. Sometimes the deviation of only one factor is to blame. Very few of us know that in 35% of all infertility couples the problem lies in antisperm antibodies. The repeated ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages can also be caused by sperm antibodies in men. If the root cause of your condition is sperm antibodies, it is important to find an experienced specialist, who will work out a step-by-step treatment plan and make sure you cope with the problem of sperm antibodies within a year.

In some cases, sperm antibodies are successfully treated with hormone therapy, but if this treatment is not effective, couples have to resort to assisted reproductive technologies. In Germany, the antibodies in the sperm are often indication for artificial intrauterine insemination.

Below we will cast light on the possible causes of sperm antibodies as well as dwell on the type of treatment patterns.

Why is it so important to determine the causes of sperm antibodies?

The problem of sperm antibodies deficiency is not always evident, which leads to misdiagnosis and further fertility complications. The precondition of successful infertility treatment (curing of male infertility) is identifying the cause correctly right at the beginning of treatment. It helps to avoid the unnecessary diagnosis procedure and start treatment as soon as possible.

Normally sperm is protected from contact with the immune cells of an organism. If this barrier has been disrupted (for example, after vasectomy or testicular trauma), the protective immune cells sperm “perceive” the healthy sperms as foreign particles and begin to attack them, synthesizing specific protective proteins – antibodies. The so called the anti-spermatozoa substances are very unfavorable for those men who want to become father. The immune antibodies cause damage to sperm, impair their mobility and promote bonding of spermatozoa. In addition, the antibodies of IgG- and IgM-class "absorb" sperm at the level of the epididymis, which reduces the total concentration of sperm in men.

How to determine and treat antisperm antibodies?

To determine the number of sperm antibodies in the semen a special MAR-test is performed at German fertility centers. Such a test may be recommended in case of:

  • idiopathic infertility, when the more common causes have been excluded
  • low activity of sperm after vasectomy, testicular trauma, testicular or prostate infection
  • increased level of adhesion of spermatozoa in semen analysis.

Sperm antibodies in semen are never treated separately. It is crucially important to identify the causes of this disorder. This may be a violation of the blood-testis barrier, due to infection or mechanical damage to the testes (trauma, surgery). To identify the causes special physiological tests are indicated (CT, sonography, MRT).

If a man has high level of sperm antibodies in the ejaculate, natural pregnancy is very unlikely to occur. If this disorder is resistible to modern medicines, the couple may be advised to apply to the assisted reproductive technologies (ART), in particular - ICSI-MAQS (microscopic sperm quality analysis for intracytoplasmic injection into the egg) or PICSI (physiological selection of the best sperm for intracytoplasmic injection into the egg) as part of in vitro fertilization program (IVF). The results of this treatment are effective, and the chances of pregnancy are higher (more than 50% during the first IVF cycle).

We would be glad to consult you about the cost and the procedure of MAR-test in Germany as well as give you all the necessary information about assisted reproductive technique.

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What exactly are anti-sperm antibodies?


Anti-sperm antibodies can occur in both men and women. Antibodies are protein molecules. They bind to a certain place on the sperm. Once tied, they can interfere with sperm abilities in various ways. They may immobilize the sperm, cause multiple sperm to clump together, reduce their ability to pass through the cervical mucus, or prevent them from binding to the oocyte and penetrating the cell membrane. Anti-sperm antibodies are commonly found in men after vasectomy, after testicular injury and after infection. The cause of anti-sperm antibodies in the woman is unknown.

Researchers classify antibodies by type (IgA, IgG and IgM). Continue to the place (head, center or tail) on the sperm to which they connect. Studies show that the IgG antibodies are more common in males and that the IgA type is found in the mucus and follicular fluid in women. The significance of these findings is still unclear. Bonding to the sperm head interferes with attachment and penetration of the ovum, while binding to the tail impairs motility.

The investigation of the type of antibody or the binding site can unfortunately make no statement about the conception probability. Attempts to treat this condition - such as lowering antibody levels with steroids or removing antibodies from the sperm - have shown that the benefit is limited and causes other complications. Ovulation induction followed by fertilization with ICSI (a process in which the sperm cell is transferred directly into an ovum) appears to be the best treatment for such cases.

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