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Semen Allergy Could Impede Efforts to Conceive

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FertilityAuthority,  June 12, 2013

Just when you thought getting pregnant couldn’t be any more difficult, a new study says as many as 12 percent of women could also be allergic to semen.

Published in the journal, Human Fertility , researchers found that hypersensitivity to human semen (HHS) can cause a range of allergy symptoms from irritation and itching to anaphylactic shock. Women between the ages of 20 and 30 are most likely to have a more severe reaction, immediately or within an hour after exposure to semen.

The study examined the response of women to a skin prick test at a hospital in the United Kingdom. Scientists tested the women’s reaction to semen in its organic state and also to washed sperm free of seminal fluid. None of the women tested experienced an allergic reaction to washed sperm, indicating the reaction was to a component of the seminal fluid itself.

Though few people have been diagnosed with the allergy, it believed to be more common than is currently documented. In fact, HHS may be confused with dermatitis or a sexually transmitted disease (STD) and as a result can often be misdiagnosed. Severe allergic reactions to semen can be prevented by undergoing intrauterine insemination (IUI) where sperm is washed of seminal fluid and placed inside the woman’s uterus to facilitate egg fertilization.


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