According to the National Fertility Association, male infertility comprises 50% per cent of childless marriages in the United States. There are many reasons that sperm functionality may become hindered and sperm agglutination often proves one of them.
What is Sperm Agglutination?
Sperm agglutination refers to sperm “clumping” due to infection or the presence of sperm antibodies. Clumping inhibits sperm’s mobility and ability to fertilise a female’s eggs.
Causes of Sperm Agglutination
Sperm agglutination occurs when the body’s immune system recognises its own sperm as foreign and deploys sperm antibodies to fight it. The antibodies attach themselves to the sperm forcing them to clump together. When the sperm are coated by the antibodies, their mobility becomes reduced and their receptors, which allow the sperm and egg to recognise each other, are covered.
Many couples having difficulty conceiving undergo testing at fertility clinics. Men undergo semen analysis tests which measure the factors of semen volume, sperm concentration, sperm motility, sperm morphology, white blood cell count (to rule out infection) and the presence of sperm antibodies.
According to a study conducted by UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine mentioned in the Georgia Reproductive Specialists website, sperm antibodies affect 3 to 7% per cent of infertile men.
Many doctors advise that men affected by sperm agglutination need to incorporate more vitamin C and zinc in their diets. Additionally, the procedure of "sperm washing" in fertility clinics cleans sperm of their antibody coating, increasing the chances of inseminating their partner through in vitro fertilisation.