German scientists reveal that a virus is possibly resposible for infertility.The virus is called adeno-associated virus (AAV) and was found in samples of testicular tissue taken from men whose semen was abnormal. The virus was found in these men far more frequently than in those with normal semen.
Dr Jorg Schlehofer, from the Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum in Heidelberg, which conducted the research, said the virus should be assessed further to see whether it is a cause of infertility.AAV is a relatively common virus which can often be detected in genital tissues - infection appears to take place when a child is in the womb, during childhood, or young adulthood.
In the German experiments, 67 men with semen abnormalities were tested for traces of AAV. These were found in 28 of them - compared to only one out of 22 in the group of men with normal semen. The researchers also analysed samples taken from the testicles of 48 men taking part in fertility treatment because their semen contained no sperm. Ten of these contained traces of AAV. It is possible that the presence of AAV may simply be a separate result of the underlying defect causing the subfertility.