A newlywed couple fear they will be unable to have a baby after they discovered the wife was allergic to her husband's semen.
Julie Boyde, 26, discovered the problem when she and husband Mike, 27, had unprotected sexual intercourse for the first time on their wedding night.
The couple had been dating for two years when they got married, but had always used protection. As soon as they had unprotected intercourse for the first time she knew something was wrong.
"Before we were always very careful and, you know, used protection, and that time we didn't," so we figured we were married now, so if we got pregnant, we got pregnant."
Mrs. Boyde, from Ambridge, Pennsylvania, added: "The pain that I was feeling was inside, kind of like, somebody was sticking needles up inside of me and like a burning, like really painful burning."
Doctors were unable to explain why she experienced pain after intercourse, until a friend of hers suggested she might be allergic to her husband's semen. She was eventually diagnoses with Seminal Plasma Hypersensitivity, which can cause itching and burning.
Dr Andrew Goldstein, from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said: "The body recognizes semen as a foreign protein just as it would recognize a peanut allergen or pollen." "So you have swelling, you have itching; you have inflammation of the nerve endings."
His colleague Jonathan Bernstein developed a desensitization treatment similar to receiving an allergy shot. After determining the proteins in Mr. Boyde's semen that triggered his wife's reaction, he created a serum to counteract the problem. Although the treatment works for some couples, it did not for the Boydes. They have now started adoption proceedings.