EWTN Catholic Q&A
sperm allergy
Question from anon on 12-18-2012:

Hi Julie,

I am happily married with 2 children. But i have developed an allergy to my husbands sperm. so when we have intercourse, i get quite ill afterwards and have symptoms for some days. so basically i cannot have intercourse with my husband. i have been diagnosed. This is causing tention in my marriage because obviously my husband and i would both like to be intimate through sexual intercourse.

Up until now we have been practicing NFP and do not use any sort of contraception. But what are we to do??? The only safe way that i can have intercourse is using a condom to reduse my allergy symptoms. we have not done this yet but i am seeking your advice.we are in our 20's. are we supposed to abstain for the rest of our married lives (which will put immense pressure on our marriage) or is it acceptable to use condoms in our situation?? we are not wanting to contracept at all, just don't want to get sick.

Please help me.

Anon

Answer by Judie Brown on 12-24-2012:

Dear Anon

Here is Dr. Anthony Dardano's response to your question:

While it is possible to actually become allergic to sperm, the condition is quite rare, but manageable. Perhaps, there is no allergy at all and what you are experiencing is an irritation from the "friction" of intercourse. Something as simple as an inert lubricant such as KY jelly is all that is needed. Perhaps you are using a lubricant already and it is mildly scented, causing an allergy, and that is the source of the problem. Having ruled both of the above out, what else can be done? A simple antihistamine such as benadryl before intercourse may be all that is needed. Increasing sexual intercourse to 2-3 times a week also helps in that the body becomes increasingly more resistant to the allergy causing components of the sperm with increased contact. Finally in extreme cases desensitizing allergy shots are used. A small amount of sperm is collected from the vagina post intercourse and a "vaccine" is made. I mention this for completeness only and I have never seen or heard of it being necessary. Condom use would not be permitted even though the primary intent is not contraceptive. Besides, once the condom is not used when pregnancy is desired the allergy would remain even stronger because the desensitizing process has been halted.

I hope this helps, Anthony N Dardano, MD, FACOG, FACS

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