POSSIBLE EFFECTS

Covid may damage sperms for months, making it harder to conceive – study

Catching Covid-19 could impact fertility weeks after recovery from the virus.

In Summary

• A new study that looked at sperm quality in Belgians who suffered Symptoms of the coronavirus, discovered that catching Covid-19 could impact fertility weeks after recovery from the virus.

• Semen samples from 35 men taken within a month of their recovery showed a 60 per cent drop in their sperm’s ability to move and a 37 per cent sperm count.

Image: Courtesy: Pinterest

Couples looking to conceive may have even more reason to avoid contracting Covid-19.

A new study that looked at sperm quality in Belgians who suffered Symptoms of the coronavirus, discovered that catching Covid-19 could impact fertility weeks after recovery from the virus.

Semen samples from 35 men taken within a month of their recovery showed a 60 per cent drop in their sperm’s ability to move and a 37 per cent sperm count.

The study, published on Monday in the Fertility and Sterility journal took samples from 120 men with an average of 35 years and an average of 52 days after their Covid-19 symptoms had cleared.

But the study warns: "Couples with a desire of pregnancy should be warned that sperm quality after COVID infection can be suboptimal."

“Semen is not infectious with SARS-CoV-2 at 1 week or more after Covid-19 infection,” researchers noted.

“However, couples with a desire for pregnancy should be warned that sperm quality after Covid-19 infection can be of poor quality."

The researchers, whose work has not been peer-reviewed, estimate that sperm levels should be back to normal after three months.

The academics are working on a follow-up study to see if damage to sperm count could be permanent in a small minority of men.

Scientists all over the world are still waiting for data on whether the new, more transmissible Omicron variant causes less or more severe disease than Delta.

Sperms
Image: Courtesy:Pinterest

              How does COVID affect sperm?

Some viruses like influenza are already known to damage sperm.

In the case of flu, the higher body temperatures experienced as a result of fever are to blame.

But in the case of Covid-19, the researchers found no link between the presence or severity of fever and sperm quality.

Instead, they believe the cause could be linked to the body's immune response to the virus.

Through tests they conducted, the researchers said that the higher concentrations of specific Covid-19 antibodies in patients' blood serum which caused temporary sperm dysfunction was more immunologic rather than fever-induced.

They however noted that during the peak of the infection, the virus may ‘breach’ the blood testes barrier, this is also supported by an earlier study from Wuhan in China where PCR tests on semen samples from infected Covid patients tested positive for the virus.

Edited by D Tarus