Leukocytospermia

Definition - What does Leukocytospermia mean?

Leukocytospermia is a condition in which the semen contains high numbers of white blood cells (WBCs), typically over one million. It usually reflects infection or inflammation of the male sex glands. Infection of the male reproductive tract accounts for 15% of cases of infertility in men. Leukocytospermia can impact the sperm function and fertility potential of a man.

FertilitySmarts explains Leukocytospermia

White blood cells are a key component of the immune system. They fend off disease-causing agents like bacteria and viruses. They are also found in the semen at low concentrations and are required to remove germs from the ejaculate. At low levels, the WBCs in the semen do not affect fertility. The presence of an infection in the body tends to increase the white blood cell count in some areas. Leukocytospermia is usually the result of a genital tract infection such as chlamydia or gonorrhea. High levels of white blood cells in the seminal fluid cause the production of highly reactive, damaging molecules called free radicals – a process called oxidative stress. These molecules damage the sperms and negatively affect their count and motility, thereby interfering with the fertility potential of a man.

Semen analysis along with measuring the WBC count in the semen forms an important component in the evaluation of a person with leukocytospermia.

Antibiotics will help treat the infection and lower the WBC count. Antioxidants like vitamin E and coenzyme Q10 help fight the oxidative damage. Although in vitro fertilization via intracytoplasmic sperm injection is the treatment of choice for male factor infertility, repeated IVF failures are common.

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