Ureaplasma parvum and Ureaplasma urealyticum are detected in semen after washing before assisted reproductive technology procedures

Fertil Steril. 2003 Oct;80(4):921-9. doi: 10.1016/s0015-0282(03)01125-7.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cervix Uteri / microbiology
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prospective Studies
  • Semen / microbiology*
  • Sperm Count
  • Sperm Motility
  • Therapeutic Irrigation
  • Ureaplasma / isolation & purification*
  • Ureaplasma / ultrastructure
  • Ureaplasma urealyticum / isolation & purification*
  • Ureaplasma urealyticum / ultrastructure