About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
COVID-19 may Reduce Fertility in Men

COVID-19 may Reduce Fertility in Men

Font : A-A+

Highlights :
  • COVID-19 might have negative effects on the fertility of men by increasing sperm cell death, inflammation, and oxidative stress
  • Experts outside of the study are skeptical about the study's conclusion and urge caution in overgeneralizing the results
  • Long-term research is required to obtain proper results and generalize the findings of the study.

COVID-19 might have negative effects on the fertility of men by increasing sperm cell death, inflammation, and oxidative stress, according to a new study done in Germany.

Researchers Behzad Hajizadeh Maleki and Bakhtyar Tartibian state that the new study provides the first direct evidence to date that COVID-19 infection impairs semen quality and male reproductive potential.


COVID-19 may Reduce Fertility in Men

The study matched 84 fertile men diagnosed with COVID-19 to 105 fertile men without the diagnosis. All men were of the same age. Analysis was done at 10-day intervals for 60 days.

Findings showed that in men diagnosed with COVID-19, the sperm cells showed a significant increase in inflammation and oxidative stress (a chemical imbalance that can damage DNA and proteins in the body).

While all men were still fertile, sperm concentration was reduced by 516%, and sperm mobility dropped by 209%. Sperm cell shape was also altered by 400%, resulting in problems in moving through the cervix and uterus.

Maleki explained that these effects on sperm cells are associated with lower sperm quality and reduced fertility potential. He added that although these effects improved over time, they remained significantly and abnormally higher in the COVID-19 patients, and the magnitude of these changes was also related to disease severity.

"The male reproductive system should be considered a vulnerable route of Covid-19 infection and declared a high-risk organ by the World Health Organization," said Maleki. However, experts outside of the study are skeptical about the study's conclusion and urge caution in overgeneralizing the results.

Allan Pacey, a professor of andrology, says ,"I need to raise a strong note of caution in their interpretation of this data. For example, the authors state that their data demonstrates that 'COVID-19 infection causes significant impairments of male reproductive function' yet it only actually shows an association."

Dr ChannaJayasena, consultant in reproductive endocrinology and andrology, explains that being ill from any virus can temporarily drop sperm count (sometimes to zero) for a few weeks or months. This makes it difficult to work out how much of the reductions observed in this study were specific to COVID-19 rather than just from being ill.

"We already know that a febrile illness (fever) can impact on sperm production, regardless of what caused it," said Pacey.

Findings of the study also showed much higher levels of ACE2 enzymatic activity in menwith Covid. This enzyme is the protein that provides the entry point for the COVID-19 virus to attach to and infect human cells.

The virus uses ACE2 receptors to gain access to the tissues of the lung. However, Pacey comments that since ACE2 receptors are also found in the testicles, it is not surprising that Covid-19 might impact the male reproductive system.

In addition, Alison Murdoch, head of Newcastle Fertility Centre, says, "It is important to note that there has been no evidence of Covid-19 virus in the semen and that there is no evidence that the virus can be transmitted via semen."

After reviewing around 14 studies on this topic, Pacey concluded that any measurable effect of coronavirus on male fertility was probably only slight and temporary.

He adds that other factors, such as the use of medications to treat the virus, could have also influenced the study's findings, which was even acknowledged by the authors.

Sheena Lewis, a professor emeritus, pointed out that the men with COVID had substantially higher body weight and several therapeutic treatments. Obesity is known to reduce sperm quality, and the treatment may have also affected sperm quality, rather than COVID itself, she said.

Alison Campbell, Embryology Director, also pointed out that the men recovering from Covid were treated with corticosteroids and antiviral therapies, while the control group was not, which could have skewed the results.

She cautions: "Men should not be unduly alarmed, since there is currently no definitive evidence of long-lasting damage caused by Covid-19, to sperm or male reproductive potential."

Pacey also comments that since sperm production takes roughly around three months to be completed from start to finish, the study ended 30 days too soon. "It would have been more useful to see whether there was a difference at 90 days between the two groups."

Reference :
  1. Evaluating the impact of COVID-19 on male reproduction - (https://rep.bioscientifica.com/view/journals/rep/161/2/REP-20-0523.xml)

Source: Medindia

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Coffee May Help You Fight Endometrial Cancer
Fermented Skin Care
Television Binge-Watching May Boost the Risk of Deadly Blood Clots
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Ovulation Lifestyle Factors that Improve Fertility Common Lifestyle Habits that Cause Diseases Top Foods To Improve Fertility Coronavirus Indian Namaste the Preferred Greeting over Conventional Handshake COVID in Children COVID Vaccination for Pregnant Women COVID-19 Vaccine: Myths and Facts Mental Health during COVID-19: Top Tips to Manage COVID Anxiety, Depression 

Recommended Reading
Low Sperm Count may Result in Other Problems and Not Just Fertility
Fertility not the only thing you should be worried about if you have a Low sperm count, finds a new ...
Zika Infection Can Cause Reduced Fertility Due to Low Testosterone levels - Recent Study
Study shows that Zika virus damages testes, lowers testosterone levels and reduces fertility in ......
Common Lifestyle Habits that Cause Diseases
Cigarette smoking, unhealthy diets, overuse of alcohol, and physical inactivity are some of the most...
Coronaviruses infect animals, humans, and birds. Human coronaviruses, such as SARS, MERS, and 2019-n...
COVID in Children
Covid-19 virus has affected many children during the second wave. Many factors play a role in COVID ...
COVID Vaccination for Pregnant Women
The Indian Government has approved Covid-19 vaccination of pregnant women, who are to be counselled ...
COVID-19 Vaccine: Myths and Facts
Debunking several misconceptions or myths that have surfaced regarding covid vaccination is importan...
Indian Namaste the Preferred Greeting over Conventional Handshake
COVID-19 pandemic is causing changes in how we greet each other. The traditional Indian way of greet...
Lifestyle Factors that Improve Fertility
Couples facing difficulty in getting pregnant could benefit from lifestyle changes. Serious medical ...
Mental Health during COVID-19: Top Tips to Manage COVID Anxiety, Depression
Coping with mental health during COVID-19 is the need of the hour. The article highlights top tips t...
Ovulation is the time when an egg or ovum is released by female ovary, usually midway during the men...
Top Foods To Improve Fertility
A balanced diet has various benefits and one of them is healthy reproductive system. Learn about the...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2022

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use
open close
I have read and I do accept terms of use - Telemedicine

Advantage Medindia: FREE subscription for 'Personalised Health & Wellness website with consultation' (Value Rs.300/-)