I often have a burning sensation in my vagina after my husband has ejaculated. My gynecologist has suggested I may have a semen allergy. Will this affect my ability to get pregnant?

Answers from Mary M. Gallenberg, M.D.

In rare cases, people have been known to have allergic reactions to proteins in their partner's semen (semen allergy). Semen allergy isn't a direct cause of infertility.

Signs and symptoms of semen allergy include redness, burning and swelling where the semen has contacted the skin, usually in the outer genital area. A small number of people may have a systemic response, including hives, itching and difficulty breathing. If you experience these signs and symptoms, see your doctor. He or she can help determine whether you have a semen allergy. Allergy testing may be necessary.

If your sensitivity to semen is severe, you may still be able to get pregnant through artificial insemination using sperm washed free of semen proteins to prevent a reaction, or through in vitro fertilization.

Jan. 18, 2012