• ANA;
  • autoantibodies;
  • capture-R;
  • ELISA;
  • immunologic infertility;
  • sperm agglutination

PROBLEM: To determine if measuring of nonorgan-specific autoantibodies is useful for better understanding and management of unexplained infertility.

METHODS: Sera were obtained from 70 infertile couples, 57 rheumatic patients, and 76 fertile donors. Sperm antibodies (SA) were detected by the tests of Kibrick and Friberg, anti-histones, anti-cardiolipin antibodies, and RF isotypes by ELISA, antinuclear antibodies by indirect immunofluorescence, and anti-red blood cell antibodies by Capture-R.

RESULTS: Multiple autoimmune reactivity (both partners positive and/or more than one type of autoantibody involved), higher than naturally occurring in fertile individuals, was found in 55% of the idiopathically infertile couples. IgA-RF was the dominant autoimmune marker. SA revealed similar rates in patients with rheumatic diseases and in infertiles with or without other autoantibodies.

CONCLUSION: Although no single autoimmunity marker could predict occurrence of SA, the coincidence of enhanced polyclonal autoimmunity in both partners of infertile couples might potentiate their negative effect on reproduction.