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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1975 Dec 1;123(7):734-5.

Effect of intrauterine devices on sperm transport in the human being: preliminary report.


This investigation was designed to determine the effect of the intrauterine contraceptive device (IUD) on the early phase of sperm transport. Previously we have shown that in normal midcyle subjects the maximal number of sperm recovered from the oviducts occurred between ten and 45 minutes after vaginal insemination. Four normal subjects, three of whom had IUD's in situ for at least eight months (copper T, Dalkon shield, and loop) and one a loop for one month, were studied in a similar manner. All subjects were inseminated at midcycle and had bilateral abdominal salpingectomies 15 to 30 minutes after insemination. No sperm were present in the oviducts of any of the subjects. The results of this study indicate that the IUD interferes with sperm transport in the human being. Additional subjects are now being studied at different time intervals after insemination in order to determine the entire effect of the IUD upon sperm transport.


An attempt to determine the effect of IUDs on the early phase of sperm transportation in humans is reported. Recently, the authors had shown that at midcycle sperm could be recovered from the oviducts of normal women within 5 minutes after vaginal insemination. The maximum number of sperm were recovered after 10-15 minutes following vaginal insemination. The subjects of the present study were 4 parous women, with 3 having had IUDs in place for 8 or more months and 1 for 1 month. All underwent bilateral salpingectomies for sterilization at 15-30 minutes after vaginal insemination. Operations were done at midcycle as shown by serum estradiol levels, cervical mucus spinnbarkeit, and preovulatory ovarian follicles at laparotomy. No sperm were found in the follopian tubes of the IUD using subjects at 15 and 30 minutes after insemination. This is a significant difference from controls where a mean recovery of 28 sperm were found in 6 specimens from 4 subjects (p less than .001). The cervical mucus sperm counts were statistically lower than in the 14 control specimens collected at 40-100 minutes after insemination (p less than .001). Flushings of the uterine cavity and endometrial curettings revealed a large number of sperm in the uterus, 99% of which were in the curettings and not free in the endometrial cavity. The control group showed sperm in the uterus in only 2 patients. This is considered a significant difference (p less than .02). Results indicate that the presence of an IUD interferes with the early phase of sperm transport. The high sperm counts in the endometrial curettings could result from a relative block or delay in sperm ascent to the oviducts. This may be a factor in the contraceptive mechanisms. Further studies are being undertaken.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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