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Study Shows That Chlamydia is Linked to Lower Male Fertility

Read on to learn about a study that links chlamydia found in testicular tissue to infertility

July 13, 2020
Laura Beck

A study done at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) finds that men with chlamydia in their testicular tissues can be a potential cause of previous infertility that had an unidentified cause. This article will take a closer look at the findings of the study, and make sense of the scientific data. In this article, you can find:

  • How many men were part of the study and how the sperm is affected
  • Who is affected by the sexually transmitted infection (STI)  and its repercussions
Man sitting on a bed holding his head
Men who have chlamydia can then be affected by the STI and the quality of his sperm. Photo courtesy of Medical News Today

Men affected by infertility is a direct effect of the STI

Findings of the study can be found in this section of the article

The researchers found antibodies specific to the bacteria responsible, Chlamydia trachomatis, in the blood of 12 of 18 donors of the fresh testicular biopsies, indicating the men had been exposed to the bacteria -- yet none of the men reported symptoms of infection or being previously diagnosed with chlamydia or any other sexually-transmitted infection (STI).

In addition, key findings of the study are as such: 

  • Men whose tissue was tested were moderately to severely infertile, producing no or little sperm, and the majority had no defined cause of their infertility.
  • Chlamydia was found in 45.3 percent of fixed testicular biopsies (43 of 95 men), obtained from the Monash Health Anatomical Pathology Department. All men in this group had no defined cause of infertility.
  • Chlamydia was also found in 16.7 percent of fresh testicular biopsies (3 of 18 men), obtained during patient sperm recovery procedures by the Monash IVF Group and Queensland Fertility Group. These 3 men, and another 10 in the group, had no identified cause for their infertility.
  • In 12 of the 18 men providing the fresh biopsies (66.7 percent) Chlamydia trachomatis-specific antibodies were found in serum, indicating the men had been exposed to the bacteria -- but all were asymptomatic and said they'd not been diagnosed with any STI.
A couple talking to a doctor
Speaking with a professional can help you treat your chlamydia. Photo courtesy of babycentre.

Men can become infertile if they are not treated for the STI

The study delved deeper into the findings of research leader Ken Beagley, QUT Professor of Immunology from the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation

Beagley said that while the infection rate of men and women is practically the same, much more research has been done on the effects of the infection on women. About 50 percent of infections in men do not have any symptoms. He also said, "Chlamydia infection in men is something we think needs further investigation. If it is a potential cause or exacerbating factor, it gives us a target, something to aim at. If it does have a role, then we need to understand what that role is, what's the best way to treat it, can treatment repair damage and improve sperm count, and also how we can prevent it."

Taking a proactive role and practicing safe sex is a failsafe way to prevent the infertility from occurring. Additionally, getting tested for the STI even though you may not have symptoms will prevent you from passing it onto your partner.


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