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Humans infected with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii display a wide variety of abnormal behaviours, from suicide and depression to stuttering. These behaviours have been seen as so serious as to constitute a public health problem. It is not clear to what extent the parasite is a cause of, or merely a marker for, these behaviours, but there is evidence for both. Some of these behaviours are associated with changes in steroid hormones, that is, estrogen in women and testosterone in men. It is suggested here that these endocrine-related states of infected people may be better understood by studying their offspring sex ratios.
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Purpose: This study will try to give recommendations for an extended serological screening for women with Toxoplasma antibodies and the optimal time frame for conception during sterility treatment. Material and Methods: 964 women consulting an infertility clinic were serologically tested for Toxoplasma antibodies. Patients with Toxoplasma-IgG-antibodies submitted to further testing for Toxoplasma-IgM-antibodies (VIDAS TOXO IgM/bio Merieux). Positive sera for IgM were tested in IgG-Avidity (VIDAS TOXO IgG AVIDITY). Results: Out of all 964 women, 472 (49%) patients were tested positive for Toxoplasma-IgG-antibodies and were further screened for IgM-antibodies. 32 of those 472 women (6.78%) showed IgM-antibodies. Of those 32 women with IgM-positive-antibodies 29 were tested for IgG-Avidity. Low avidity was detected in 7 (24.1%) of 29 women with IgM-antibodies tested for avidity, which may indicate an acute infection. Conclusion: Screening for Toxoplasma infection should be a mandatory part before sterility treatment. An acute primary infection is a risk for the woman as well as the unborn child. Especially for children conceived through assisted reproduction the possibility of a vertical infection must be avoided. Screening for IgG- and IgM-antibodies can be completed with a further testing for IgG-Avidity. The suggested three-step screening procedure (IgG, IgM and IgG-Avidity) can help to minimize the risk of a prenatal Toxoplasma infection.