Could Who You Kiss Render You Mysteriously Infertile?

By Fsoutah (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

A poor diet, alcohol, smoking and caffeine have all been linked to poor fertility, but up until now nobody has blamed “kissing” for unexplained infertility. Now, scientists think they’ve found a link between unexplained infertility and on obscure virus which they believe is transmitted through kissing.

Kissing Virus

Researchers have stated the discovery of the kissing virus offers hope for women who are struggling to become pregnant, but without a diagnosis that explains why.

A team of researchers at the University of Ferrara in Italy examined the uteruses of females with unexplained primary infertility, (the inability to ever bear a child), and found that 43 percent of them were infected HHV-6A, one of the strains of the human herpes virus.

The virus was not found in any of the women whose fertility was normal. Infertility affects about 6 percent of females between the ages of 15 to 44 years of age.

About one-quarter of these cases were unexplained, which prompts many women to opt for expensive and traumatic fertility treatments, such as in-vitro fertilization, with no indication if they are likely to work.

The results of the study were published in the journal PLoS One, and it describes how all the females infected with HHV-6A were discovered to have abnormal levels of cytokines, which are signaling proteins that aid in the role of supporting fertilized eggs and fetal development.

The virus is not normally detected in the blood or saliva, so its true prevalence is not known. However, the virus replicates itself in the salivary glands and previous research has indicated it can be transmitted from person to person through kissing.
Herpes viruses have previously been implicated in male infertility, but no specific virus has yet been conclusively identified as associated with female’s being infertile.

Dr. Anthony Komaroff, a professor at Harvard Medical School said, “This is a surprising discovery. If confirmed, the finding has the potential to improve the outcome for a large subset of infertile women.”
Researchers say more study is needed now to confirm the findings which came from a cohort of 66 females, and to determine whether antiviral treatment would help women with the uterine infection.

Conclusion to the Study:

Senior study author, Roberta Rizzo, said she thought the research may lead to treatment for some infertile women.

In recent months clinicians have voiced concerns warning that couples struggling to have a baby are being taken advantage of by fertility doctors.
Dr. John Parsons, founder and former director of King’s College Hospital’s assisted fertility unit said half of all women prescribed fertility treatments do not need help becoming pregnant and are at risk of exploitation from private clinics.
Women are entitled to up to three rounds of in-vitro fertilization on the NHS, although I some trust areas they are offered less.


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