Wife Allergic to Husband's Sperm Plans to Adopt

Couple discover wife has rare condition on wedding night
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 6, 2009 8:21 AM CST
"In a person with a semen allergy, you can have infertility because the body is attacking the sperm, making them inactive, so they are unable to fertilize the egg," an expert told ABC.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – A Pennsylvania couple's wedding night—and their plans to have children—were ruined when the new wife discovered she was allergic to his sperm. Julie and Mike Boyde had had sex before, but had used protection until that night, when she found herself in excruciating pain. She was diagnosed with a condition called seminal plasma hypersensitivity, which affects an as many as 40,000 women in the US, reports ABC.

In sufferers, "the body recognizes semen as a foreign protein just as it would recognize a peanut allergen or pollen," says one expert. "So you have swelling, you have itching, you have inflammation of the nerve endings." A vaccine-like treatment developed to combat the condition has helped other couples but didn't work for the Boydes, who now plan to adopt.