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Journal of Pathogens
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 578423, 8 pages
Review Article

Human Papillomavirus Infection, Infertility, and Assisted Reproductive Outcomes

1The Ronald O. Perelman and Claudia Cohen Center for Reproductive Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY 10021, USA
2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY 10021, USA

Received 28 August 2015; Accepted 30 September 2015

Academic Editor: Cormac G. M. Gahan

Copyright © 2015 Nigel Pereira et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted infection common among men and women across all geographic and socioeconomic subgroups worldwide. Recent evidence suggests that HPV infection may affect fertility and alter the efficacy of assisted reproductive technologies. In men, HPV infection can affect sperm parameters, specifically motility. HPV-infected sperm can transmit viral DNA to oocytes, which may be expressed in the developing blastocyst. HPV can increase trophoblastic apoptosis and reduce the endometrial implantation of trophoblastic cells, thus increasing the theoretical risk of miscarriage. Vertical transmission of HPV during pregnancy may be involved in the pathophysiology of preterm rupture of membranes and spontaneous preterm birth. In patients undergoing intrauterine insemination for idiopathic infertility, HPV infection confers a lower pregnancy rate. In contrast, the evidence regarding any detrimental impact of HPV infection on IVF outcomes is inconclusive. It has been suggested that vaccination could potentially counter HPV-related sperm impairment, trophoblastic apoptosis, and spontaneous miscarriages; however, these conclusions are based on in vitro studies rather than large-scale epidemiological studies. Improvement in the understanding of HPV sperm infection mechanisms and HPV transmission into the oocyte and developing blastocyst may help explain idiopathic causes of infertility and miscarriage.