Objective: To investigate the prevalence of ureaplasmas in semen and washed semen and to explore their effect on semen andrology variables.
Design: Prospective study.
Setting: In vitro fertilization (IVF) unit of a private hospital.
Patient(s): Three hundred forty-three men participating in an assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment cycle.
Main outcome measure(s): The prevalence of ureaplasmas in semen and washed semen tested by culture, polymerase chain reaction assays, and indirect immunofluorescent antibody assays.
Result(s): Ureaplasmas were detected in 73 of 343 (22%) semen samples and 29 of 343 (8.5%) washed semen samples. Ureaplasmas adherent to the surface of spermatozoa were demonstrated by indirect immunofluorescent antibody testing. Ureplasma parvum serovar 6 (36.6%) and U. urealyticum (30%) were the most prevalent isolates in washed semen. A comparison of the semen andrology variables of washed semen ureaplasma positive and negative groups demonstrated a lower proportion of nonmotile sperm in men ureaplasma positive for washed semen.
Conclusion(s): Ureaplasmas are not always removed from semen by a standard ART washing procedure and can remain adherent to the surface of spermatozoa.