There are rare disorders, which affect a woman’s fertility, and yet which are not ‘household names’ so-to-speak, even among those women who would consider themselves to be well-informed about woman’s health issues. If you talk to women about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Sperm Allergy, you are likely to get a few raised eyebrows. This might be due to the fact that they are considered to be somewhat rare. Females attempting to get pregnant want to be as well-read on fertility-related issues as possible.
Here is a brief overview these two disorders:
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: This is an endocrine disorder that affects approx. 5% to 10% of women are of child bearing age, and which is a leading cause of infertility. The symptoms vary significantly in women. Women with this disorder have higher than normal levels of male hormones (all women have both male and female hormones). The excessive amounts of masculinizing (androgenic) hormone result in increased hair growth and irregular or absent menstrual cycles (anovulation), and small-fluid filled cysts on their ovaries. If a woman is pregnant or trying to conceive, she needs to consult with a doctor before taking any medication to deal with the increased hair, since they can affect the development of a fetus. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is also strongly correlated and to diabetes, obesity, and the body producing too much insulin.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome affects ovulation. Different medications can be prescribed to help the ovaries release eggs. IVF can be used to help a woman with PCOS conceive. There is also a laparoscopic procedure which may be considered, although it is not considered as a first option. A small portion of the ovary is destroyed by a small electric current. This intervention can decrease the production of male hormones and increase ovulation.
The exact cause of PCOS is unknown. There may be a genetic factor, but further testing is needed.
There is no cure for PCOS.
Sperm Allergy: Females can suffer from a sperm allergy, or human seminal plasma hypersensitivity, which is a rare allergic reaction to seminal fluids, or sensitivity to semen.
The best way to test for such an allergy is to use a condom during intercourse. If the symptoms go away with the use of a condom, this is a possible. In mild cases, there usually are no symptoms. In more severe cases, symptoms may include vaginal itching, redness, swelling, or blisters within 30 minutes of contact. They may also include generalized itching, hives, and even difficulty breathing.
Both mild and severe allergies may interfere with a couple trying to conceive. Up to 25% of couples experiencing difficulties conceiving may have sperm allergies. Of those with such an allergy, 20% to 40% are able to conceive with the help of artificial insemination or an Assisted Reproductive Technology treatment.
A woman consulting a fertility specialist is well-advised to share any medical concerns that she has, whether or not she can see a direct correlation between the concern and her attempts to become pregnant. Fertility specialists are trained to see links between fertility and health-issues.