Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS)
Leukocytes trigger oxidation by releasing reactive oxygen species. These molecules cause cellular damage by changing the makeup of individual cells. In particular, reactive oxygen species change the makeup of sperm cells, affecting motility and morphology. This can make it very difficult for you and your partner to achieve pregnancy.
The more white blood cells you have in your semen, the more likely it is that you sperm have been affected by the reactive oxygen species. However, every man has a different threshold regarding the amount of reactive oxygen species his sperm cells can hold.
This is because the body has specific antioxidants that fight against the damage caused by the reactive oxygen species. Some men simply have lower levels of these antioxidants, leaving them more susceptible to oxidative damage.
Testing and Treatment of High White Blood Cell Levels
If you are dealing with male factor infertility, your reproductive endocrinologist will be sure to test and treat you for high white blood cell levels.
Testing for High White Blood Cells Levels
Testing is typically performed at your fertility clinic. A semen analysis can detect the levels of white blood cells in your ejaculate. You will also be given a urethral swab to determine if you are suffering from an active infection.
Treating High White Blood Cells in Semen
Treatment typically involves medicating any active infections with the use of antibiotics. You may also be advised to ejaculate frequently, in order to move excess white blood cells out of the seminal tract. White blood cells levels tend to drop on their own, however they can increase again at a later date, so active treatment is suggested.