Antisperm Antibody Test

asab antisperm antibody test

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

What is the antisperm antibody?

The anti-sperm antibody is a specific type of antibody protein that attacks and destroys sperm cells. These have the capacity to fight sperms in a man’s blood, semen, and even in a woman’s vaginal fluids. This happens when the body’s immune system mistakes sperm as an invader to the body and thus responds by destroying the sperm cells. These antibodies are found in both male and female bodies and can severely hamper fertility. Such infertility is called immunological infertility.

What is the antisperm antibody test?

The antisperm antibody test looks for these specific antibodies in the body. The test uses a sample of sperm and adds a substance that binds only to affected sperm. The test detects and evaluates the causes of infertility when a couple is unable to conceive a child; however, it also analyzes the health of the reproductive organs in both males and females. It is done as a blood test in females and as a sperm test in males.

When is the antisperm antibody test ordered?

This test is usually done to evaluate the cause of infertility. If a couple is having trouble in conceiving a baby, they will be asked to undergo this test. Males have to give a sperm sample whereas females have to give a blood sample for testing. This may also be performed if the results of other fertility tests are unclear.

Why do some people have antisperm antibodies in their bodies?

Men

Prostate inflammation
– Testicular injury
– Vasectomy

All of these can trigger an adverse immune response whenever the sperm comes in contact with the blood.

Though it is rare, some women might be naturally allergic to semen. The moment their vaginal fluid comes in contact with the sperm in the semen, the antisperm antibodies (ASAB) will get triggered by the immune response and will end up destroying the sperm cells. It is still not clear why some women have this tendency.

How is the antisperm antibody (ASAB) test done in women?

In the case of women, a blood sample is taken for ASAB testing by a routine venipuncture procedure. The following steps are performed for the blood sample collection:

– A small area behind the elbow is cleaned with an antiseptic solution and a tourniquet is wrapped around the arm.

– The pressure is increased to locate the vein. Once the vein becomes prominent, a needle is inserted and blood is drawn through it.

– The blood is collected in a vial. A sample of around 5 ml of blood is drawn from the vein.

– Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed and the site of puncture is covered with a sterile gauze or bandaid.

– The blood sample is then sent to lab for further testing.

How to prepare for the ASAB test?

For men – They need to ensure that they haven’t ejaculated for at least 2 days before depositing the sample for the test. It is important to not go longer than 5 days before the test without ejaculating because it could affect the results of the test.

For women – No special preparation is required for the blood sample collection. No fasting is required for the ASAB test.

How is the ASAB test done in the case of men?


– A sample of semen is required to check for ASAB which is collected via masturbation.

– You should urinate before collecting the sample. You should wash your hands and penis before depositing the sample.

– Avoid using lubricants or condoms while masturbating.

– If you are collecting the sample at home, ensure that the sample is deposited to the lab within one hour.

– The semen sample must be kept at room temperature and away from direct sunlight.

– The semen sample shouldn’t be collected after during the process of intercourse since the vaginal fluids can contaminate the sperm sample.

How long will it take for the results to be available?

It takes around 24-36 hours for both the blood test and semen test reports to be available.

What is the reference value for the ASAB test?

ASAB reference range (U/ml) Interpretation
0-60 U/mlNormal
> 60 U/mlAbnormal (ASAB present)

What are the risks associated with the ASAB test?

In the case of blood tests, there might be some bleeding or bruising at the site of the injection. Some women might experience pain and swelling (phlebitis) which can be treated by using warm compresses. If the bleeding and bruising don’t heal, refer to a doctor immediately. The sample collection for semen usually has no risk at all.

What is the price of the ASAB test in India?

The cost of the antisperm antibody test in India lies between Rs 500-1800, depending upon the type of sample (blood or semen) and also on the city and diagnostic center.

How to interpret the results of the ASAB test?

Immunobeads are small beads that are treated with special proteins. If antibodies to the sperm are present, i.e, an individual has a high ASAB level, these beads will attach to the sperm. One hundred motile (swimming) sperm are analyzed for bead attachment. In case of males, if twenty or more of these sperm have beads attached to them (a result of 20% or greater), this is considered a positive test and indicates that antisperm antibodies may be present.

For the female, a result greater than 10% is considered a positive test. Additionally, as indicated in the table above, if the reading of ASAB in the sample is higher than 60 U/ml, then it indicates the presence of ASAB.

How is the ASAB level affects IVF preparation and fertilization?


If the man tests positive for ASAB, his semen specimen for IVF will be collected into a specimen cup that contains a special buffer solution. This buffer solution can minimize the effect of ASAB on the sperm and thus improve sperm count and motility.

Normal IVF fertilization rates (fertilization of 50% or more of the mature eggs) are usually achieved with this treatment, in case of positive ASAB results. When the female partner or both partners have tested positive for ASAB, or if the man also has a decreased semen specimen (low count, low motility or low SPA), fertilization rates may be lower. In that case, other methods such as ICSI may be suggested.

How common is infertility in India?

It has been found that around 10-14% of the general Indian population faces the issue of infertility, with almost 1 out of every 6 couples in the urban demography being reported as infertile.

What factors can affect the ASAB test results?

Collecting a semen sample within 48 hours of ejaculating or after not ejaculating for longer than 5 days may affect the results of this test.

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