Immune infertility


Antisperm antibodies (ASA) have been considered as infertility cause in around 10–30% of infertile couples.  ASA production are directed against surface antigens on sperm, which can interfere with sperm motility and transport through the female reproductive tract, inhibiting capacitation and acrosome reaction, impaired fertilization, influence on the implantation process, and impaired growth and development of the embryo. Risk factors for the formation of antisperm antibodies in men include the breakdown of the blood‑testis barrier, trauma and surgery, orchitis, infections, prostatitis, testicular cancer, failure of immunosuppression and unprotected receptive anal or oral sex with men.


Klinefelter Syndrome-One of the most commonly known causes of infertility is Klinefelter Syndrome, affecting 1 out of 500–1000 newborn males Klinefelter Syndrome is a chromosomal defect that occurs during gamete formation due to a non-disjunction error during cell division. Resulting in males having smaller testes, reducing the amount of testosterone and sperm production. Males with this syndrome carry an extra X chromosome (XXY), meaning they have 47 chromosomes compared to the normal 46 in each cell. This extra chromosome directly affects sexual development before birth and during puberty (links to learning disabilities and speech development have also been shown to be affected). There are varieties in Klinefelter Syndrome, where some cases may have the extra X chromosome in some cells but not others, referred to as Mosaic Klinefelter Syndrome, or where individuals have the extra X chromosome in all cells. The reduction of testosterone in the male body normally results in an overall decrease in the production of viable sperm for these individuals thereby forcing them to turn to fertility treatments to father children.

Y chromosomal infertility is a direct cause of male infertility due to its effects on sperm production, occurring in 1 out of every 2000 males. Usually affected men show no sign of symptoms other than at times can exhibit smaller teste size. Men with this condition can exhibit no sperm production), small number of sperm production, or they will produce abnormally shaped sperm (teratozoospermia).This case of infertility occurs during the development of gametes in the male, where a normal healthy male will produce both X and a Y chromosome, affected males have genetic deletions in the Y chromosome. These deletions affect protein production that is vital for spermatogenesis. Studies have shown that this is an inherited trait; if a male is fathered by a man who also exhibited y chromosome deletions then this trait will be passed down. These individuals are thereby “Y-linked”, although daughters are not affected due to the lack of the Y chromosome.

Best regards,

Rose Marie
Managing Editor
Reproductive Immunology: Open Access