An Association Between HPV Found in Semen and Decrease in Pregnancy Rates


As promised, each Thursday, we will now offer you a piece of educational, science, or research related information. The purpose of our #ThursdayThoughts post is to share with you fact-based content that can enlighten and assist you on your fertility journey. Enjoy our post! Helping to Create New Beginnings….

An Association Between HPV Found in Semen and Decrease in Pregnancy Rates

Human papilloma virus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted virus that is usually harmless and goes away on its own. However, some strains are responsible for genital warts and cervical cancer in females.  There is a vaccine available for certain strains of HPV. It is given around age 11 to both boys and girls. The vaccine works best if given before any sexual contact.  A fertility study showed that males that have HPV- positive sperm have a decrease in pregnancy rates compared to those that were HPV-negative. (Christophe Eric Depuydt et al.  Fertility and Sterility.  June 2019: Volume 111, Issue 6, pages 1135-1144)

The study consisted of 573 couples diagnosed with infertility and a total of 1,362 IUI cycles.  Each sperm sample was tested for 18 different HPV types.  There was a 12.5% prevalence of HPV in the sperm samples.  The clinical pregnancy rate was 2.9% in HPV-positive sperm and 11.1% in HPV-negative sperm.  The conclusion is that women that were inseminated with HPV-positive sperm were 4 times less likely to have a clinical pregnancy.

The thought behind HPV’s effect on fertility is that the virions may immobilize spermatozoa, damage the sperm DNA, and may also arrest early embryo development. More research is needed to determine if the relationship between HPV and infertility is a causal one. For more information regarding fertility testing and treatment, please visit our website at, or call the Fertility Institute of Hawaii at 808-545-2800 for an appointment with one of our physicians.

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