A study was published in a recent issue of the journal Human Reproduction states that an undiagnosed chlamydia infection can damage male fertility. Australian research is the first to find sexually transmitted disease in testicular tissue biopsies of infertile men without an identified cause of their infertility.

Chlamydia infection has been associated with infertility in women, but much less is known about its impact on male fertility, especially if men do not experience symptoms, which is estimated to occur in about 50 percent of cases, “said study leader Ken Beagley, professor of immunology at Queensland University of Technology in Australia.” When people have no symptoms, they can spread the infection to their sexual partners without knowing it and we believe that future studies with male patients should look at how chlamydial infection could cause damage to the male reproductive system and contribute to infertility, “Beagley added in a university press release.

Chlamydia was found in fixed testicular biopsies of 43 of 95 men (45.3 percent) who had no definite cause of infertility. In addition, chlamydia was also found in 16.7 percent of fresh testicular biopsies (in 3 of 18 men) without an identified cause of infertility. Twelve of the 18 (66.7 percent) had chlamydia-specific antibodies, indicating that they had been exposed to the bacteria, but none had symptoms of chlamydia or said they had received a diagnosis of any sexually transmitted infection.

“Studies with animals from our group support these findings in humans. These studies show that chlamydia infection in male mice establishes a chronic infection in the testicles that significantly affects normal sperm development,” he added.

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