Study of seminal infection among an infertile male population in Qom, Iran, and its effect on sperm quality

  • Katayon Berjis Mirza Koochak Khan Infertility Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
  • Mahdieh Ghiasi Department of Pharmacology, Razi Drug Research Center, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran; Study of seminal infection among an infertile male population in Qom, Iran, and its effect on sperm quality
  • Sareh Sangy Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Islamic Azad University Of Qom, Qom, Iran; Avay Mahd Cell Iranian Company, Health Technology Development Center of Qom University of Medical Sciences, Qom, Iran
Keywords: Seminal infection, Infertility, Semen parameters


Background and Objectives: There are very few analysis tools to examine seminal fluid specimens, so bacterial infections on male infertility has always been the subject of discussion. These infectious processes lead to deterioration of spermatogenesis, impairment of sperm function, and/or obstruction of the seminal tract. In this study, we aimed at determining the role of bacterial infection on semen parameters including motility, count and normal morphology in infertile male patients.Materials and Methods: In this cohort study, 150 infertile males having abnormal semen parameters (study group) and 150 healthy fertile males (control group) were included. A total of 300 semen samples were collected after 3 to 5 days of sexual abstinence. Volume, pH, concentration, normal morphology, and motility were evaluated. Samples were seeded using a calibrated loop on agar and EMB plates, which were incubated overnight. The microorganisms were identified by Gram staining technique, catalase and coagulase tests.Results: The prevalence of seminal infection among infertile males in Qom was 21%. Among these infected samples 61.9%, 14.28%, 14.28% and 9.25% were contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus, coagulase negative staphylococci, Streptococcus and Escherichia coli, respectively. All the identified bacteria except Streptococcus caused a significant decrease in sperm concentration. Sperm motility was significantly lower in E. coli contaminated samples than in the control group, and the presence of E. coli and S. aureus led to a decline in normal morphology of the sperms.Conclusion: Sperm bacterial contamination is quite frequent and could contribute to the deterioration of the sperm quality of infertile males.


Kamel RM. Management of the infertile couple: an evidence-based protocol. Reprod Biol Endocrinol 2010; 8:21.

Sharlip ID, Jarow JP, Belker AM, Lipshultz LI, Sigman M, Thomas AJ, et al. Best practice policies for male infertility. Fertil Steril 2002; 77: 873-882.

Al-Dujaily SS, Chakir WK, Hantoosh SF. Direct antisperm antibody examination of infertile men. GJMR 2012; 12:36-42.

Pellati D, Mylonakis I, Bertoloni G, Fiore C, Andrisani A, Ambrosini G, et al. Genital tract infections and infertility. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol 2008; 140: 3-11.

Azenabor A, Ekun AO, Akinloye O. Impact of inflammation on male reproductive tract. J Reprod Infertil 2015; 16:123-129.

Urata K, Narahara H, Tanaka Y, Egashira T, Takayama F, Miyakawa I. Effect of endotoxin-induced reactive oxygen species on sperm motility. Fertil Steril 2001; 76: 163-166.

Sanocka-Maciejewska D, Ciupińska M, Kurpisz M. Ciupińska, M. Kurpisz,. Bacterial infection and semen quality. J Reprod Immunol 2005; 67:51-56.

Benjamin U O, Akhere T I, Orhue A A E. The prevalence and patterns of endocrinopathies amongs azoospermic male partners at a fertility clinic in Benin City. Endocrinol Metab Int J 2014; 1:00003.

Moretti E, Capitani S, Figura N, Pammolli N, Grazia Federico M, Giannerini V, et al. The presence of bacteria species in semen and sperm quality. J Assist Reprod Genet 2009; 26:47-56.

Tremellen K. Oxidative stress and male infertility--a clinical perspective. Hum Reprod Update 2008; 14:243-258.

Fraczek M, Kurpisz M. Mechanisms of the harmful effects of bacterial semen infection on ejaculated human spermatozoa: potential inflammatory markers in semen. Folia Histochem Cytobiol 2015, 53:201-217.

Ahmadi MH, Mirsalehian A, Gilani MAS, Bahador A, Talebi M. Improvement of semen parameters after antibiotic therapy in asymptomatic infertile men infected with Mycoplasma genitalium. Infection 2018: 46:31-38.

Ombelet W, Bosmans E, Janssen M, Cox A, Vlasselaer J, Gyselaers W, et al. Semen parameters in a fertile versus subfertile population: a need for change in the interpretation of semen testing. Hum Reprod 1997, 12:987-993.

Cooper TG, Noonan E, Von Eckardstein S, Auger J, Baker HW, Behre HM, et al. World health organization reference values for human semen characteristics. Hum Reprod Update 2010; 16:231-245.

Al-Janabi A, Jubair A, Pemmaraju S, Pruthi P, Pruthi V. The role of bacterial infections on male infertility in Al-Anbar province of Iraq. Int J Med Sci Public Health 2014; 3:177-180.

Li B, Yang X, Ye JZ, Chen HL, Hou YB, Du J, et al. Spermatozoal immobilization ability and virulence genes of Staphylococcus aureus isolated from the semen of infertile men. Zhonghua Nan Ke Xue 2015; 21:881-886.

Bukharin OV, Kuz'min MD, Ivanov IuB. The role of the microbial factor in the pathogenesis of male infertility. Zh Mikrobiol Epidemiol Immunobiol 2000; 2:106-110.

Haidl G. Macrophages in semen are indicative of chronic epididymal infection. Arch Androl 1990; 25:5-11.

Abdel Monem M.O., Saad A.S., Saher A. Eissa, El-Dougdoug K.A. Potency of bacteriospermia and sperm quality in Leukocytospermic infertile males. Life Sci J 2013; 10:1413-1419.

Merino G, Carranza-Lira S, Murrieta S, Rodriguez L, Cuevas E, Morán C. Bacterial infection and semen characteristics in infertile men. Arch Androl 1995; 35:43-47.

Khalili M, Sharifi-Yazdi M. The effect of bacterial infection on the quality of human’s spermatozoa. Iran J Public Health 2001; 30:119-122.

Al-Maliki, Rehab Sh. Effect of aqueous extract of turmeric on pathogenic bacteria isolated from semen in a sample of Iraqi infertile men. JMS 2012; 10:105-110.

Fraczek M, Szumala-Kakol A, Jedrzejczak P, Kamieniczna M, Kurpisz M. Bacteria trigger oxygen radical release and sperm lipid peroxidation in in vitro model of semen inflammation. Fertil Steril 2007; 88:1076-1085.

Villegas J, Schulz M, Soto L, Sanchez R. Bacteria induce expression of apoptosis in human spermatozoa. Apoptosis 2005; 10:105-110.

Fanibunda SE, Velhal SM, Raghavan VP, Bandivdekar AH. CD4 independent binding of HIV gp120 to mannose receptor on human spermatozoa. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2008; 48:389-397.

Fraczek M, Kurpisz M. Kurpisz. Inflammatory mediators exert toxic effects of oxidative stress on human spermatozoa. J Androl 2007; 28:325-333.

How to Cite
Berjis K, Ghiasi M, Sangy S. Study of seminal infection among an infertile male population in Qom, Iran, and its effect on sperm quality. IJM. 10(2):111-6.
Original Article(s)