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COVID-19 Affects Sperm Quality But Can't Be Transmitted Via Semen, Study Claims

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Dr. Alfredo Carpineti

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Dr. Alfredo Carpineti

Senior Staff Writer & Space Correspondent

Alfredo (he/him) has a PhD in Astrophysics on galaxy evolution and a Master's in Quantum Fields and Fundamental Forces.

Senior Staff Writer & Space Correspondent

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The team suggests that it would take at least three months for things to approach normality again. Image Credit: WHITE MARKERS/Shutterstock.com

If you want to conceive, another reason to avoid COVID-19 has been revealed. Developing symptomatic COVID-19 infection can reduce sperm quality and sperm count for months, a study from a team in Belgium suggests.  

Published in the Fertility and Sterility journal, the study looked at samples from 120 unvaccinated men with an average age of 35 years. The samples were collected on average 52 days after their COVID-19 symptoms had cleared.  

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One piece of good news is that the researchers didn’t find any evidence of SARS-CoV-2 in semen, suggesting that semen is not infectious with COVID-19 – but that’s about it in terms of positives. COVID-19, just like the flu virus, can damage sperm. With the flu, it’s a high body temperature that causes the damage. The mechanism with COVID-19 is not clear. It could potentially be linked to the immune response. 

During the first month post-COVID, 37 percent of the participants had a reduced sperm count and 60 percent of them had sperm with reduced mobility. Between one and two months, the fraction with a reduced sperm count was around 29 percent, and reduced mobility of sperm was found in 37 percent of men.  

After two months, the sperm count was lower in just 6 percent of the sampled men and reduced mobility was found in over a quarter of them. The team suggests that it would take at least three months for things to approach normality again, but the low number of people studied and the temporal limitations invite caution. More extensive work will be needed to fully understand the impact of COVID-19 on fertility. 


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healthHealth and Medicine
  • tag
  • sex,

  • sperm,

  • covid-19

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