Over the years we have observed that treating subclinical chronic infections of the genital tract has resulted in many spontaneous pregnancies, despite many years of infertility, miscarriages or IVF failures.
Most doctors regard infections of the male and female genital tract problematic only if they cause overt symptoms (like blockage of the fallopian tubes, fever, pain, discharge etc.). There is growing evidence that infection-induced immune reaction can cause damage to the sperm and the endometrium creating an unfavourable microenvironment for the embryo. This subsequently can lead to failed implantation or early miscarriage.
Antibiotic treatment can improve the uterine microenvironment for implantation; as well as significantly improve sperm quality in men with poor sperm parameters (even where we have not been able to identify a specific infection), leading to improved pregnancy rates.
Treating troublesome bacterial infections can reduce the risk and heartache of repeated treatment failures and in the case of donor treatments it ensures optimal conditions for implantation.
We began testing for Chlamydia using a novel test on menstrual fluid (the blood, mucus and tissue that is shed during a period) at Locus Medicus lab in Athens.
We now run a panel of tests run by Gene Diagnosis lab in Athens, which comprises:
HHV 6 (virus recently linked to unexplained female infertility).
We also offer the Gene Diagnosis test for HHV- 6 separately – €100, or a ’9-in-1’ test which includes the above Gene Diagnosis tests apart from HHV-6 for €170.
We still run the LM test and we would generally recommend having both the LM test plus the Gene Diagnosis tests as we often find cases where the Gene Diagnosis test result is negative for Chlamydia Trachomatis but the LM test detects a positive result indicating that another species of the Chlamydia family of bacteria is present in the body.
The “II in I” tests do not include the ‘hidden chlamydia test”. That is the Locus Medicus Chlamydia test and is done separately as above
It is possible to test for these bacteria in your home country using a standard vaginal swab test. However, we believe a vaginal swab may miss infections present higher up in the genital tract (e.g. in the uterine lining), because for most of your menstrual cycle the cervix acts as an effective barrier, which blocks the transit of infected material between the uterus and the vagina. So you can test negative by vaginal swab, and yet still get a positive result from our tests.
We are aware that these tests are innovative and not well-recognized by many doctors outside Greece, but we have found them to be very useful diagnostic tools, and believe they will gain more widespread acceptance with time.
No, you do not have to come to Greece for the tests. You can collect a menstrual fluid sample at home, and send it to us in Athens for testing. We will email you the results within a few days of receipt of your sample.
Note that if you are going to be in Athens for a hysteroscopy, a blood sample can be obtained for you here, as you are likely to have some bleeding after the hysteroscopy. Generally, though, we prefer you to do the tests before your initial consultation with us, as the results will provide valuableinformation that may help our decision as to whether you may benefit from a hysteroscopy.
In order to perform the test we need a few drops of your menstrual fluid in a clean container, the type used to collect urine for testing is ideal, which you can generally buy from your local pharmacy.
IMPORTANT: Please use a clean container with a SCREW top-the safest option is Sterilin Polystyrene 7ml containers-, to prevent the sample from being spilled and contaminated during transfer.
There are several ways you can do it:
You know you have sufficient when you can shake all the contents down to the bottom of the bottle, and the blood mixes with the saline turning it pink/red.
If you would like both tests, there is no need to send two samples; we will split the sample for you when it arrives.
You can store the sample, if needed in the fridge (NOT the freezer) for several weeks if necessary.
You may want to keep a back up sample in the fridge at home until your sample has been successfully tested just in case of loss or breakage.
If you do not have natural periods, you should be able to generate a bleed by taking 21 days of Cyclacur (Cyclo-progynova in the UK).
You should start to bleed 3-5 days after the last pill in the packet.
You may be able to get a prescription for Cyclo-progynova from your GP. Alternatively, we can post you the pills, or send you a prescription you can use in the UK or anywhere in the EU.
Where the male partner has symptoms, or the semen analysis is suggestive of infection, we may recommend that testing be done on a semen sample. We’ve had a lot of success in improving sperm parameters and pregnancy rates after giving antibiotics where a positive result was detected.
It is also possible to do the Locus Medicus and Gene Diagnosis tests on semen by post in exactly the same way as the tests on menstrual blood, but we would generally tend to suggest only testing the female partner unless the male partner has symptoms of infection.
On a fresh sample of semen, we can perform a culture test, in order to identify the type of infection present while at the same time we provide an Antibiotic sensitivity test which will determine the most suitable antibiotic in each case. This test costs €40.
If either partner tests positive in any of our tests, it is prudent to assume that the other is also at risk of having the infection. So we would always suggest that both partners take the antibiotic treatment simultaneously, and use condoms until the antibiotic course is completed.
Where sperm parameters improve very markedly after antibiotic treatment, we recommend that men repeat the course every 2 years, as protection from potential urinary and prostate problems caused by recurrent infection.
Send the package containing your menstrual blood or semen sample to:
The regulations for postal services differ between countries. From the UK, Parcelforce Worldwide will usually send packages to Athens including non-infectious biological samples for about £70, providing you follow their packaging rules (see their website). Fedex or DHL may require you to open an account with them first in order to send biological samples and to use their specific forms and packaging. City Sprint Medical Courier are accustomed to dealing with all kinds of biological samples and their prices tend to be reasonable from London/South East (about £70), but from other areas of the UK, their prices can be very expensive. The ordinary Royal Mail (tracked) service prohibits the sending of biological samples (and they may require a written declaration describing the contents of the package) so we cannot advise you to use it, but because it is very cheap (£2-8), the majority of our patients have chosen to use it. We receive the majority of samples from patients in UK, Ireland, Sweden and Australia via the ordinary (tracked) post.
Please note that we cannot accept any responsibility your sample until we receive it safely and we cannot arrange courier or shipping for you. We do not suggest you make payment to us for the tests until we receive your sample.
Unless the weather is very hot, the sample will normally be stable at room temperature for more than 2 weeks (and will keep in the fridge NOT THE FREEZER for several weeks). It is not necessary to ship the sample with ice packs for these tests.
Once you have sent the sample, please email our reception staff at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Once your sample arrives we will contact you with our payment request a.s.a.p. if you don’t hear from us within 5 days of your sample arriving in Athens, please contact our reception staff at: email@example.com
We accept payment by bank transfer for these tests.
Your results will usually be ready about 5-8 working days after we receive your sample.
Once we receive your test results and we have proof of your payment, we will send you a copy of your results by email.
If your results are positive, we will recommend suitable antibiotics to treat any infection detected, and post or email you a prescription for them if you need it. (If you are not a patient of our clinic, we reserve the right to make a charge of €100 for arranging your prescription).
Please note that we liaise with these laboratories and advise on the antibiotics purely to help your treatment and we do not make a mark-up offering these tests.
Although some women will have no scarring in the uterus as a result of an infection (only inflammation, which will reduce after antibiotic treatment), a positive result tends to indicate a higher risk of significant uterine scarring and adhesions. So we are more likely to recommend a hysteroscopy if your test result is positive.
We’ve also noticed that women whose progesterone level is unusually low have tended to test positive for Chlamydia, which has led us to suspect that bacteria may be interfering with progesterone metabolism. Antibiotic treatment can address this, as can monitoring with blood tests, and, where necessary, increasing the dose or type of progesterone used during an IVF or natural cycle.
Some couples will find it upsetting to discover they have an infection, particularly if they have been together for many years.
It can be helpful to remember that once an infection resides in the endometrium or the testicular tissue it can be resident for decades without giving any signs or symptoms of infection for the majority of cases.
So there is no shame in finding you have an infection. These infections are common, and widespread.
We usually find that discovering an infection is a positive step, as detecting and treating it is often easy, and can result in your long-awaited pregnancy.
Prices for these tests may change without warning.