Cured By Sex
When your female partner tells you she's allergic to you, don't take it personally—semen allergy is a rare but not unknown condition. While sometimes a woman is allergic to all semen, it's possible for a woman to be allergic to the semen of a specific partner. Though the judicious use of condoms can prevent painful or even dangerous allergic reactions, condoms make pregnancy by natural means all but impossible, leading some couples to end their relationships. IVF is often a successful means of conception in such cases, but treatment can be tricky and expensive.
During a 2006 meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology in Philadelphia, David J. Resnick, MD, acting director of the allergy division of New York Presbyterian Hospital stated that women really can have strong allergic reactions to a partner's semen. However, the cure may just involve sex—lots of sex. But don't try this without medical supervision, since semen allergy can cause breathing difficulties and hives.
Resnick and his colleagues reported on a case of a Puerto Rican woman who suffered from semen allergy and underwent successful desensitization therapy. Resnick stated that the treatment can be administered in one of two forms. Allergy shots containing small amounts of the male partner's semen can be administered to the female sufferer, or a technique known as intravaginal seminal graded challenge can be administered. The latter treatment takes many hours and involves the insertion of the partner's semen into the woman's vagina by the physician. The semen is inserted every 20 minutes, in increasing amounts. But, no matter which treatment route you choose to take, the couple must have sex a minimum of two or three times a week in order for the treatment to succeed. In a news release about the new treatment, Resnick stated, "Treatment failure is associated with couples who do not engage in frequent intercourse that re-exposes the patient to the allergen. Patients not living near their partners can refrigerate or freeze specimens so they can continue frequent exposure."
Just as in any immunotherapy, both allergy shots and seminal challenge are never started without close monitoring of the allergic individual, because of the fear of incurring severe anaphylactic shock and death. While no fatalities have as yet been reported in individuals with semen allergy, Resnick thinks it wise for women with this condition to keep an epinephrine kit close by.
Since semen allergies are rare, they sometimes go unrecognized or may even be misdiagnosed. Most sufferers first display symptoms in their 20's. 41% of semen allergy sufferers have a reaction during their first sexual experience; however, symptoms often worsen with continued exposure. Sensitization therapy is the only known cure.