Sperm antibodies

Last updated: Monday, 05, April, 2004

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Item Process
Specimen

5mL blood in plain tube from both partners, transported at 4oC.

Semen for detection of antibodies on sperm surface, transported at room termperature.

Cervical mucus, transported at 4oC (see Semen analysis).

Method

Detection of antibodies coating spermatozoa may be undertaken using several techniques. The direct immunobead test or the mixed antiglobulin are most commonly employed. 

Serum, seminal plasma and partners serum, and cervical mucous can be assessed by the indirect immnobead test by incubation of donor sperm.

Reference Interval

Antibodies are not usually detected.

Application

This test is one component of the investigation of infertility and should be performed in conjunction with routine semen analysis.

Interpretation

If antibodies are present their significance is dependent on titre, class of immunoglobulins and site of attachment of antibodies to sperm. 

Frequently interpreted in association with the mucus penetration test - consult laboratory staff. 

Sperm antibodies are often detected following vasectomy and may be associated with infertility after reversal of vasectomy.

Reference

McLachlan RI et al. Pathology 2003; 35: 25-33.

WHO Laboratory Manual for the Examination of Human Semen and Sperem-Cervical Mucus Interaction. 4th ed. Cambridge University Press 1999.