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Samuel Wood, MD
Reproductive Endocrinologist

Signs of Sperm Allergy?

What is a sperm allergy, and how do I know whether I have one?

It sounds like the punch line in a bad joke, but it’s true that some women do actually have an allergic reaction to sperm. Symptoms of a sperm allergy can include burning, itching or swelling after sex as a reaction to the sperm itself or to the seminal fluid that the sperm swim around in. In some (really unfortunate!) cases, a woman might be allergic only to her partner’s semen or sperm.

While symptoms can sometimes be mild, in a few instances there can be a severe reaction that includes a rash, wheezing and even anaphylaxis (a narrowing of the airways, which can cut off your breathing). To find out if you have a sperm allergy, an allergist may run a skin test with your partner’s semen or sperm to see if there is a reaction (yes, really). Women who aren’t trying to conceive can prevent a reaction by having their partner wear a condom, but if you are trying to get pregnant, you may need to consider using  intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization to help you conceive.

Plus, more from The Bump:

Should I consider IUI?

Allergies During Pregnancy

Fertility 101