What are anti-sperm antibodies?

vasectomy reversalIf you’re hoping to conceive after a vasectomy reversal then you might have heard the term anti-sperm antibodies being bandied about. So just what exactly are anti-sperm antibodies, and should you be worried about them affecting your fertility in the long run?

Anti-sperm antibodies are created by the body as an immune response against sperm, and all sorts of different things can trigger their secretion. This does include, but is not limited to, vasectomy procedures; keen cyclists and those who have suffered previous trauma to the area can also be more likely to have anti-sperm antibodies in their bodies.

The presence of anti-sperm antibodies should also not be considered a barrier to falling pregnant; while in some cases their presence can cause fertility issues, for other men conception is unaffected.

Many men have high levels of anti-sperm antibodies after a vasectomy reversal procedure, but scientists are still unsure as to just how exactly they affect your partner’s chances of conception. Many other factors, such as motility, will play their part in the odds.

In plenty of cases that Mr Harriss has seen, despite high levels of anti-sperm antibodies being present, pregnancy has still occurred in the partner of someone who has had a vasectomy reversal. This includes men who have been found to have 100% anti-sperm antibodies, and whose partners have nonetheless successfully conceived, sometimes as soon as five months after the vasectomy reversal procedure.

It also seems to be the case that mens’ levels of anti-sperm antibodies fluctuate, possibly by quite a significant amount, over time. This means that however negative test results may appear, there is always a chance that conception is possible if fluctuation is taking place.

Each and every patient undergoing a vasectomy reversal procedure under the care of Mr Harriss with the intention of conception and pregnancy is offered a semen analysis in a World Health Organisation accredited semen analysis suite. Positive results can bring much happiness to patients, but even negative results are often not as bad as they seem, and occasionally patients’ partners have even conceived prior to the 3-month semen analysis, rendering it unnecessary!