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Preeclampsia as sperm intolerance?

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Preeclampsia as sperm intolerance?

Postby expert on call » Sun May 02, 2004 03:46 pm

A member recently posted the transcript to Australian Public television program examining how preeclampsia is related to primapaternity and length of time a woman is exposed to her partner's semen:

http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/s1097423.htm#transcript

What are your thoughts on this "dangerous partner" theory? Is preeclampsia caused by an intolerance to a partner's sperm? Should a woman consider this theory when planning a pregnancy?
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Re : Preeclampsia as sperm intolerance?

Postby expert on call » Sun May 02, 2004 03:47 pm

Preeclampsia deserves its name of the disease of theories. However, while the “dangerous partner” may be a catchy phrase, the theories discussed in the article are not new. The concept that preeclampsia was more likely to occur after multiple gestations when the mother changed partners appeared in the 1970s, and we have been asking multiparas who develop preeclampsia if this baby is from a different partner ever since! Similar, the theory of having sex more often, and with different partners, as to its effect on preeclampsia has been in the literature for years (Gus Dekker, the obstretician in the article even studied the effects of frequent oral sex). The pros and cons of different aspects of these immune, and the development of immune tolerance theories, are too complex to discuss here, nor is the much studied protein (TGF-beta), only to point out the leap in the article from the immune determinants of preeclampsia in humans to reproductive failures in mice.

In essence, the discussions on the Australian web site, are a rehash of old theories plus some new preliminary findings with vague implications, and so far no practical applications.

The moral, In 2004, the only time to worry and investigate one’s partner’s sperm, is when faced with infertility, and the examinations he and his sperm will undergo has very little to do with preeclampsia.

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Re : Preeclampsia as sperm intolerance?

Postby expert on call » Sun May 02, 2004 08:51 pm

The question of immune tolerance and intolerance is a very important research question. Why is a fetus tolerated at all? Does something go wrong it the normal "tolerance of pregnancy" that contributes to preeclampsia? Very important questions to answer.

While there is epidemiological data to suggest a possible "dangerous partner" theory - the strength of the effect in the overall risk profile is probably small. I am concerned that the phrase "dangerous partner" will lead couples to feel responsible for the outcome - too little sex - too much sex - not enough sex with the right people - the wrong kind of sex....

Most couples are searching for a way to feel responsible and therefore guilty - "We did not do something right." I would not want this concept to inappropriately contribute to their feelings.

Information provided on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disorder, or prescribing any medication. The Preeclampsia Foundation presents all data as is, without any warranty of any kind, express or implied, and is not liable for its accuracy, for mistakes or omissions of any kind, nor for any loss or damage caused by a user's reliance on information obtained on the site. Professional opinions on this condition vary greatly. The Preeclampsia Foundation endorses no one course of treatment or "cure". Responses generated by our Experts to specific questions are based on information anonymously submitted to this site via email, are not based on a complete review of any patient’s medical records and should not be construed as the only reasonable expert response to the info submitted and/or the scenario described.
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