Antibodies are proteins produced by your body to target a specific antigen, such as a virus, or bacteria. Sperm antibodies are proteins that the body produces to fight sperm. Either males or females can actually form sperm antibodies. No one is quite certain as to why the body produces these sperm antibodies, or the exact roles they plays in male or female fertility.
What we do know is that when a man has a vasectomy, his body may begin to create antibodies to his own sperm. This may be caused by the relative isolation of his sperm from the rest of the body. Normally, the sperm are protected from the immune system by being shielded inside the testicles. When the vas deferens is cut during a vasectomy, sperm can leak out. It may be that the body then begins to view the sperm as a foreign object, sending the sperm antibody proteins to neutralize the sperm, in order to protect itself.
When sperm antibodies are present, they can create conditions in which the sperm agglutinate, or stick together, which interferes with their natural ability to swim. Antisperm antibodies also block the formation of the acrosomal cap (an enzyme packet that covers the head of the sperm and allows it to attach to an egg).
When antibodies are present, they can cover the sperms head, preventing the formation of a functional acrosomal cap. This, in turn, prevents the proper fusion of sperm and egg cells, making a successful conception slightly more difficult.
Recent studies have shown, however, that sperm antibodies might not be that much of a hindrance to a successful pregnancy. There are also tests your doctor can perform to determine if antibodies are present, as well as the best way to work around them.
The science and art of vasectomy reversals have come a long way over the years. Dr. Desiderio (Desi) Avila, Jr. has a vasectomy reversal success rate as high as 99.5%. His skills as a board-certified, fellowship-trained urologist are unmatched in the area of vasectomy reversal. Most couples under his care experience a successful pregnancy within 1-2 years. Dr. Avila will take the time to sit down and discuss all options, answer all of your questions and talk about any possible outcomes with you.
If you have been diagnosed with the formation of sperm antibodies, or are interested in a vasectomy reversal, call Dr. Avila today to discuss your options. You can contact Dr. Avila at Ironwood Urology in Phoenix to schedule a consultation. Call (480) 961-2323 or request an appointment online.