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  • "alfie" started this thread

Posts: 11

Reg: May 5th 2009

Location: staffordshire

Children: NONE

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Sunday, May 17th 2009, 10:02pm

antibodies in SA changing levels?

Hi there great to get some professional advice

I have just been through a failed attempt at icsi. Luckily we have 5 frozen embryos so can try again in 3 months - I am really hoping I could concieve naturally during the wait!! However our original diagnosis was unexplained fertility. Our GP organised blood tests and SA and all came back normal. My blood tests have continued to be normal. However the first SA at the clinic about 2 months ago for my husband had borderline antibodies - they said not to be concerned that they may be lower at the time of egg collection. However when we got to egg transfer 2 weeks ago my dh had a much higher level of antibodies so they opted for icsi - 6 eggs fertilised out of 9 and split and created grade 1 and good grade 2 embryos.
I just wondered why the level of antibodies changes - could it go back down again? Why has it been different each time? My husband cannot recall any traumas to the testicles and certainly none in the last yr. could we still concieve naturally?

Posts: 2,505

Reg: May 2nd 2007

Children: A boy and a girl, both living in London

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Monday, May 18th 2009, 12:13am

RE: antibodies in SA changing levels?

Hi Alfie,

Like all biological measurements, sperm antibody levels can vary for no particular reason, but there are also for some proven reasons. The antibody protein is in the fluid part of the specimen, the seminal plasma, and gets coated on to the sperm as they wait in the epididymis to be ejaculated. There are tests for antibody coating the sperm, and different tests for antibody still in the seminal plasma. The longer the sperm wait around in the seminal tract the more coated they can get. And as the sperm pick up more antibody they become stickier, but this also depletes the measurable antibody levels remaining in the seminal plasma. This is one of the reasons for not abstaining and for maintaining regular ejaculation. Generally every 2-3 days gives the best sperm picture, and longer storage can cause the motility to go down. Where there is an antibody problem it can often be better to ejaculate more often around ovulation to prevent too much build up of antibody coating.

The sperm concentration also can influence the results as the more sperm there are in the specimen the less thickly coated they will become as this will have be spread more thinly amongst the more sperm, and of course these sperm will remove a greater amount of antibody from the seminal plasma leaving less to be detected in the test.

We often don't know why some men make antibody, my own extensive research showed lots of men without any significant history yet who had antibodies. Pregnancies are very likely naturally providing that the sperm numbers and motility are good, as this spreads the antibody more thinly and there are more likely to be uncoated sperm able to swim through the female tract. But the partner has to be very fertile herself to make the best use of these sperm.

IVF is a way around the problem as the antibody can impair the sperm swimming through cervical mucus and the rest of the tract to reach the egg. But you must keep ttc naturally as well as trying IVF.

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