A team from Ume University Hospital in Ume and the Scandinavian Fertility Center in Gothenburg, found decreased pregnancy rates in couples where the man had IgG antibodies a marker of previous or persistent infection by Chlamydia trachomatis, one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases.
The researchers tested 244 infertile couples attending their infertility clinic for the antibodies. For those couples where one partner was positive they also tested for Chlamydia DNA. They followed the couples' progress for between 14 and 54 months (mean follow-up 37 months). For controls, they tested aged-matched women who had conceived spontaneously. They found IgG antibodies in nearly a quarter of the infertile women, a fifth of the infertile men but only 15.6% of the controls. Among infertile couples with IgG antibodies 6.8% of the women and 7.1% of the men carried Chlamydia DNA in their urine, suggesting active infection. Of the total study group 3.7% exhibited Chlamydia DNA, but the figure was over 13% in the infertile antibody positive couples.
Associate Professor Jan Olofsson, head of the research team, said: "As anticipated, we found a raised prevalence of Chlamydia trachomatis IgG antibodies in the infertile population compared with the proven fertile population. Importantly, as well as the expected finding of antibodies among the female partners we found that antibodies in the male partner was significantly inversely correlated to the overall pregnancy rate. The chance of achieving a pregnancy was reduced by 33% if the man was IgG positive.
"Our findings show that it is not only women that need to be concerned abou
Contact: Margaret Willson
European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology