Immune system disorders
People with male reproductive organs may develop antibodies to their own sperm, which may attack and weaken the sperm. Additionally, the antibodies may attach to the sperm and interfere with their movement or their ability to fertilize the egg, causing male factor infertility.
Diagnostic testing for immune system disorders
If your semen analysis shows sperm clumping or signs of infection, your doctor may order a semen culture, prostate fluid culture, and urinalysis. To evaluate immune system disorders, your doctor may order an anti-sperm antibody test, which uses either a semen sample, a blood sample, or both. It’s important to note that at Shady Grove Fertility, anti-sperm testing is done infrequently as your physician can perform better diagnostic testing during treatment.
Treatment for immune system disorders
If you have an infection or an immune system disorder, medications may help. Quite often, the reason for male factor infertility is unknown, so your doctor may speak with you about other options, such as intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), and other similar procedures.
IVF with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) has become a revolutionary procedure for patients with male factor infertility, as embryologists only need to isolate a single healthy sperm to fertilize the egg.
Your physician may recommend ICSI as part of your IVF procedure to treat many causes of infertility, especially when there is a problem with the sperm, such as low motility (movement) or a low sperm count. ICSI is especially useful in cases where the sperm cannot penetrate the egg or if the sperm are abnormally shaped.