STUDY QUESTION: What is the relationship between the degree of sperm autoimmunisation, as assessed by IgG-mixed antiglobulin reaction (MAR) test, and natural and intrauterine insemination (IUI)-assisted live births? SUMMARY ANSWER: Compared with a lower degree of positivity (50-99), a 100-positive MAR test was associated with a much lower occurrence of natural live births in infertile couples, who could be successfully treated with IUI, as first-line treatment. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended screening for antisperm antibodies, through either the IgG-MAR test or an immunobead-binding test, as an integral part of semen analysis, with 50 antibody-coated motile spermatozoa considered to be the clinically relevant threshold. However, the predictive value of the degree of positivity of the MAR test above such a cut-off on the occurrence of natural pregnancies remains largely undetermined. Furthermore, the effectiveness of IUI in cases of strong sperm autoimmunisation is not yet well-established. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: This was a retrospective cohort study on 108 men with a ≥50-positive MAR test, where the couple had attended a university/hospital andrology/infertility clinic for the management of infertility from March 1994 to September 2017. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: The IgG-MAR test was carried out as an integral part of semen analysis. The patients were divided into two groups: 100 and 50-99-positive MAR test. The post-coital test (PCT) was performed in all the couples, and IUI was offered as the first-line treatment. Laboratory and other clinical data were retrieved from a computerised database. Data on subsequent pregnancies were obtained by contacting patients over the telephone. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANGE: A total of 84 men (77.8) were successfully contacted by telephone, and they agreed to participate. Of these, 44 men belonged to the group with a 100-positive MAR test, while 40 showed lower MAR test positivity. The couples with a 100-positive MAR test showed a natural live birth rate per couple (LBR) that was considerably lower than that observed with a lower degree of positivity (4.5 vs. 30.0; P = 0.00001). Among the clinical variables, a significant difference between the two groups was observed only for the PCT outcome, which was poor in the 100-positive MAR test group. Better PCT outcomes (categorised as negative, subnormal and good) were positively associated with the occurrence of natural live births (6.3, 21.7 and 46.2, respectively; P = 0.0005 for trend), for which the sole independent negative predictor was the degree of sperm autoimmunisation. IUI was performed as the first-line treatment in 38 out of 44 couples with a 100-positive MAR test, yielding 14 live births (36.8). In couples with lower MAR test positivity, the LBR after IUI (26.9) was similar to the natural LBR in this group (30.0). LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: Given the retrospective nature of the study, we cannot exclude uncontrolled variables that may have affected natural pregnancies during the follow up or a selection bias from the comparison of natural live births with those after IUI. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: The routine use of the IgG-MAR test in the basic fertility workup is justified as it influences decision making. A 100-positive IgG-MAR test can represent the sole cause of a couple's infertility, which could be successfully treated with IUI. On the other hand, a lower degree of positivity may only represent a contributing factor to a couple's infertility, and so the decision to treat or wait also depends on the evaluation of conventional prognostic factors including the PCT outcome. STUDY FUNDING, COMPETING INTEREST(S): This study was supported by PRIN 2017, Ministero dell'Università e della Ricerca Scientifica (MIUR), Italy. On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: N/A.
|Titolo:||Relationship between natural and intrauterine insemination-assisted live births and the degree of sperm autoimmunisation|
BARBONETTI, ARCANGELO (Corresponding)
|Data di pubblicazione:||2020|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|