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Is There Such a Thing as Sperm Allergy?

Can Men Be Allergic to Their Own Sperm?

Although it is more common for a woman to have a semen allergy, it is possible for some men to be allergic to their own sperm. This can affect men who have undergone a vasectomy reversal, in which the quality of the sperm might have been affected.
 
There is also another rare condition called post-orgasmic illness syndrome (POIS), which was first reported in the medical journals in 2002. This condition is characterized by flu-like symptoms that occur immediately after an orgasm. These symptoms may last a week or two, leading to severe fatigue. Recent research has linked POIS to semen allergy.
 
It is not known how common it is for men to have an allergy to their own semen. And while it may be embarrassing for some men to seek medical care, this condition could cause an accumulation of antisperm antibodies that may lead to infertility problems for men.
 

Can I Still Get Pregnant With a Sperm Allergy?

Although a sperm allergy can be frustrating and inconvenient for many couples, it is not usually a direct cause of infertility for women. Because a sperm allergy will not usually affect a woman's fertility, there are ways for a woman who has this medical issue to become pregnant.
 
A woman who has gone through the desensitizing process will have no more difficulty than the average woman in trying to conceive. If you have not been desensitized, you may have the option of using "washed" semen for artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization. Washing the sperm involves a process where the sperm are "washed," or separated, which separates out motile sperm from the man's ejaculate (which contains the protein allergens) and concentrates them into a small volume.
 
The washed sperm can then be artificially inseminated (see What's Involved With an IUI?). In some cases, women may also look at assisted reproductive technologies, such as in vitro fertilization (see What Is Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)? and The Ins and Outs of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)).
 
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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