HPV virions in sperm lower chances of conception after intrauterine insemination
Insemination with semen positive for human papillomavirus (HPV) virions is four times less likely to result in clinical pregnancies compared with HPV-negative sperm, a study has found.
In the study, 732 infertile couples underwent 1,753 intrauterine insemination (IUI) cycles with capacitated sperm. The outcome of biochemical and clinical pregnancy rate in IUI cycles was evaluated according to the presence of HPV virions in semen.
Researchers used quantitative polymerase chain reaction to test 3,444 separate sperm fractions, which were generated from the workup of 1,362 sperm samples, for 18 different HPV types (6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 53, 56, 58, 59, 66, 67 and 68).
The prevalence rate of HPV in sperm was 12.5 percent per IUI cycle. Sperm detected with infectious HPV virions was associated with a significantly lower rate of clinical pregnancies in comparison with HPV-negative sperm (2.9 percent vs 11.1 percent per cycle).
No pregnancies resulted from cycles that used sperm with a ratio of >0.66 HPV virions/spermatozoon (sensitivity, 100 percent; specificity, 32.5 percent).
The findings indicate that reproductive forms of the HPV virus, the virions, inhibit fertility by damaging the spermatozoa, researchers said. Therefore, detection of HPV virions in sperm should be part of routine examination and counselling of infertile couples.