Immunological aspects of vasectomy.

In: Boettcher, B., ed. Immunological influence on human fertility. (Proceedings of the Workshop on Fertility in Human Reproduction, University of Newcastle, Australia, July 11-13, 1977) New York, Academic Press, 1977. p. 25-46

Since vasectomy involves surgical intervention on a healthy individual, it is advisable to determine that it does not cause long-term adverse effects. About 1/2 the men vasectomized develop antibodies to sperm following vasectomy. Sperm leakage from the surgical site, from granulomas, or from the epididymis during sperm resorption is believed to cause antisperm antibody formation. Granulomas are the most common postoperative vasectomy complication; they often are undiagnosed. The physiology of cellular immune response and the blood-testis barrier is explained and pictured with laboratory slide photographs. Postvasectomy antigen release, it is feared, may result in antigen-antibody complex deposition in the kidney with severe pathological consequences. It has been observed that laboratory monkeys with high circulating antisperm antibody levels at the time of vasectomy reversal are less likely to regain fertility.

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