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 Shannon K. Laughlin-Tommaso, 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. Some 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.
Treatment to desensitize your allergic reaction to your partner's semen may allow you to conceive naturally. However, if your sensitivity to semen is severe, your doctor may recommend intrauterine insemination — using sperm washed free of semen proteins to prevent a reaction — or in vitro fertilization to become pregnant.
Jan. 16, 2015
Shannon K. Laughlin-Tommaso, M.D.
See more Expert Answers
- Liccardi G, et al. Intimate behavior and allergy: A narrative review. Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. 2007;99:394.
- Ferre-Ybarz L, et al. Human seminal plasma allergy and successful pregnancy. Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology. 2006;16:314.
- Makino A, et al. Successful pregnancy after artificial insemination in a case of human seminal plasma allergy. Reproductive Medicine and Biology. 2008;7:119.
- Resnick DJ, et al. The approach to conception for women with seminal plasma protein hypersensitivity. American Journal of Reproductive Immunology. 2004;52:42.