Chlamydia trachomatis infection in women with secondary infertility

Fertil Steril. 2009 Jan;91(1):91-5. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2007.05.070. Epub 2008 Jul 16.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood
  • Antigens, Bacterial / analysis
  • Cervix Uteri / microbiology
  • Chlamydia Infections / epidemiology*
  • Chlamydia Infections / transmission
  • Chlamydia trachomatis* / immunology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Fertility / physiology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • India
  • Infertility, Female / complications*
  • Infertility, Female / microbiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Reference Values


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Immunoglobulin G