Wasp stings don't cause infertility

A possible connection between male infertility and allergy to wasp stings has been the subject of a recent study by Swiss scientists.

This content was published on October 19, 2008 - 18:12

The findings are reassuring, however. Men who have an allergic reaction to wasp stings should be at no higher risk of becoming infertile than those who do not, said a statement issued on Sunday by Bern University Hospital.

The question arose because there is a protein in sperm whose structure is very similar to one found in wasp venom. Antibodies against this protein have been found in some men.

Scientists wondered whether the antibodies created in an allergic reaction to wasp stings might not be responsible for their presence.

But anonymous blood tests found that this was not the case. Scientists concluded that other reasons led to this autoimmune reaction.

The study is continuing in order to determine whether the question can be put the other way round: are men who are infertile more likely to be allergic to wasp stings?

The results are published in the latest edition of the international journal "Molecular Immunology".

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