Objective: To assess the role of Chlamydia in secondary infertility in a prospective study.
Design: Forty women with secondary infertility and 30 healthy term pregnant women of similar age composition were studied for past and present Chlamydia trachomatis infection.
Setting: Women attending the outpatient Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology with complaint of secondary infertility were enrolled as patients in the study.
Patient(s): Forty women with secondary infertility formed the study group, and 30 healthy women served as the controls.
Intervention(s): Chlamydia IgG was detected by ELISA; titers of 1:320 or more were considered positive. Endocervical swabs were collected for culture on cycloheximide-treated McCoy cell lines, and ELISA was used to detect Chlamydia antigen. Hysterosalpingography was performed to assess tubal patency.
Main outcome measure(s): A difference was expected between the prevalence of C. trachomatis infection in the infertile study subjects and fertile control group.
Result(s): Immunoglobulin G antibodies were present in 22 (55%) women with secondary infertility, whereas positivity was seen among 2 (5.5%) controls. Tubal occlusion occurred in 16 (63.6%) cases positive for chlamydial antibody. Sensitivity of chlamydial IgG antibody as a diagnostic marker for infertility was 72.7%, and specificity was 44.4%. The majority of Chlamydia IgG antibody-positive cases, 17 (77.2%), were symptomatic. Unfavorable obstetric history was found in 16 (72.7%) cases. Active infection was found in 12 (30%) cases with one (3.3%) case of current infection occurring in the controls.
Conclusion(s): Prevalence of past chlamydial infection is strongly statistically significant in women with secondary infertility. Current infection was also found statistically significantly in these women. Immunoglobulin G antibody detection is an effective and noninvasive tool for detection of Chlamydia and a more viable option than HSG in a developing country such as India. Screening of women with secondary infertility for C. trachomatis is strongly recommended to allow early therapeutic interventions.