Parasitology Research

, Volume 115, Issue 2, pp 469–477 | Cite as

Human parasitic protozoan infection to infertility: a systematic review

  • Malihe Nourollahpour Shiadeh
  • Maryam Niyyati
  • Shirzad Fallahi
  • Ali RostamiEmail author


Protozoan parasitic diseases are endemic in many countries worldwide, especially in developing countries, where infertility is a major burden. It has been reported that such infections may cause infertility through impairment in male and female reproductive systems. We searched Medline, PubMed, and Scopus databases and Google scholar to identify the potentially relevant studies on protozoan parasitic infections and their implications in human and animal model infertility. Literature described that some of the protozoan parasites such as Trichomonas vaginalis may cause deformities of the genital tract, cervical neoplasia, and tubal and atypical pelvic inflammations in women and also non-gonoccocal urethritis, asthenozoospermia, and teratozoospermia in men. Toxopalasma gondii could cause endometritis, impaired folliculogenesis, ovarian and uterine atrophy, adrenal hypertrophy, vasculitis, and cessation of estrus cycling in female and also decrease in semen quality, concentration, and motility in male. Trypanosoma cruzi inhibits cell division in embryos and impairs normal implantation and development of placenta. Decrease in gestation rate, infection of hormone-producing glands, parasite invasion of the placenta, and overproduction of inflammatory cytokines in the oviducts and uterine horns are other possible mechanisms induced by Trypanosoma cruzi to infertility. Plasmodium spp. and Trypanosoma brucei spp. cause damage in pituitary gland, hormonal disorders, and decreased semen quality. Entamoeba histolytica infection leads to pelvic pain, salpingitis, tubo-ovarian abscess, and genital ulcers. Cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis can induce genital lesion, testicular amyloidosis, inflammation of epididymis, prostatitis, and sperm abnormality in human and animals. In addition, some epidemiological studies have reported that rates of protozoan infections in infertile patients are higher than healthy controls. The current review indicates that protozoan parasitic infections may be an important cause of infertility. Given the widespread prevalence of parasitic protozoa diseases worldwide, we suggest further studies to better understanding of relationship between such infections and infertility.


Infertility Protozoan parasites Infections 



We gratefully acknowledge the comments to this monograph by Professor Yves Carlier (Tulane University, Université Libre de Bruxelles) and Professor Indrajit Chowdhury (Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have nothing to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Malihe Nourollahpour Shiadeh
    • 1
  • Maryam Niyyati
    • 2
  • Shirzad Fallahi
    • 3
    • 4
  • Ali Rostami
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of MidwiferyMazandaran University of Medical SciencesSariIran
  2. 2.Department of Parasitology and Mycology, School of MedicineShahid Beheshti University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  3. 3.Department of Parasitology and Mycology, School of MedicineLorestan University of Medical SciencesKhorramabadIran
  4. 4.Razi Herbal Medicines Research CenterLorestan University of Medical ScienceKhorramabadIran

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