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Anti-Sperm Antibodies Semen Test

Last updated Oct. 31, 2015

The Anti-Sperm Antibodies Semen Test is performed by exposing a semen sample to microscopic beads coated with antibodies specific for IgA and IgG. If antibodies were present on sperm cells, the sample would clump as the antibodies attached to the beads attract the antibodies present on the sperm cells.


What are other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • Anti-Sperm Abs Semen Test
  • Anti-Sperm Antibodies Direct Semen Test

What is the Anti-Sperm Antibodies Semen Test? (Background Information)

  • The sperm is the male sex cell. Over 200 million sperms are released during an ejaculation
  • Ejaculate, called semen, contains seminal plasma in addition to sperm. This plasma contains dissolved substances, such as simple sugars, buffers, and antimicrobial compounds that provide an environment hospitable to the sperm
  • The components of semen are produced by the testicles, epididymis, seminal vesicle, prostate gland, bulbourethral gland, and urethral gland. Disorders of these structures may cause faulty semen production and infertility
  • After ejaculation, sperms travel through the female vaginal canal to the fallopian tubes, close to the ovaries. There, an egg waits to be fertilized by a single sperm
  • If two sperm cells fertilize a single egg, the result is identical twins. If two eggs are fertilized by two separate sperm cells, the result is fraternal twins
  • Certain health conditions may interfere with the sperm cells ability to fertilize an egg, causing infertility. One of these is attack by antibodies
  • Antibodies are immune proteins that rid the body of foreign invaders. They are produced by immune cells, called B cells, and attack specific targets
  • In either a man or a woman, certain antibodies may target the sperm cells. When this occurs, they may kill or injure the sperm cells, decreasing the chances for a sperm to fertilize an egg
  • The Anti-Sperm Antibodies Semen Test detects antibodies on sperm cells from a sample of semen. It is used to determine if the cause for infertility is immune-related
  • Of the different types of antibodies - IgA, IgE, IgD, IgG, and IgM - only IgA and IgG are relevant to the Anti-Sperm Antibodies Semen Test
  • The Anti-Sperm Antibodies Semen Test is performed by exposing a semen sample to microscopic beads coated with antibodies specific for IgA and IgG. If antibodies were present on sperm cells, the sample would clump as the antibodies attached to the beads attract the antibodies present on the sperm cells

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Anti-Sperm Antibodies Semen Test?

Following are the clinical indications for performing the Anti-Sperm Antibodies Semen Test:

  • Following up to a semen analysis showing agglutinated sperm or decreased sperm motility
  • Difficulty becoming pregnant
  • Monitoring fertility treatments

How is the Specimen Collected for the Anti-Sperm Antibodies Semen Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for Anti-Sperm Antibodies Semen Test:

Sample required: Semen

Process of obtaining a semen sample in adults: Ejaculation into a sterile container.

Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test.

What is the Significance of the Anti-Sperm Antibodies Semen Test Result?

An Anti-Sperm Antibodies Semen Test finding indicating more than 20% of sperm cells have bound to the immunobeads may indicate:

  • The presence of clinically significant amounts of antibodies on sperm cells
  • Immune infertility

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario.

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

  • The Anti-Sperm Antibodies Semen Test is specific for the area on the sperm cell where antibodies are attached. This includes the head, mid-piece, and tail of the sperm
  • Semen is very sensitive to environmental changes. Thus, a fresh sample is essential to ensure accurate results from this test

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider of the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

The following DoveMed website links are some useful resources for additional information:

http://www.dovemed.com/semen-analysis-test/

Please visit our Laboratory Procedures Center for more physician-approved health information:

http://www.dovemed.com/common-procedures/procedures-laboratory/

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Daniels, R. (2010). Delmar's manual of laboratory and diagnostic tests: Organized by type of test (2nd ed.). Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Cengage Learning. 

Jacobs, D. S., Oxley, D. K., & DeMott, W. R. (2004). Laboratory test handbook: Concise, with disease index (3rd ed.). Hudson (Cleveland), OH: Lexi-Comp. 

Kee, J. L. (2010). Laboratory and diagnostic tests with nursing implications (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Lab Tests Online (2013, September 30). Retrieved April 6, 2014 from http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/semen/

Madigan, M. T. (2012). Brock biology of microorganisms (13th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Benjamin Cummings.

Martini, F., Nath, J. L., & Bartholomew, E. F. (2012). Fundamentals of anatomy & physiology (9th ed.). San Francisco: Benjamin Cummings.

Schnell, Z. B., Van, L. A., & Kranpitz, T. R. (2003). Davis's Comprehensive handbook of laboratory and diagnostic tests: With nursing implications. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis. 

Williamson, M. A., Snyder, L. M., & Wallach, J. B. (2011). Wallach's interpretation of diagnostic tests (9th ed.). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Wilson, B. A., & Salyers, A. A. (2011). Bacterial pathogenesis: A molecular approach(3rd ed.). Washington, DC: ASM Press.

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Oct. 31, 2015
Last updated: Oct. 31, 2015