Can COVID-19 Infection Lead To Infertility In Men?

There’s now scientific data on the potential impairment of fertility in men infected with SARS-CoV-2. 

A new study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that a man’s fertility could be negatively affected by a COVID-19 infection. 

Researchers who worked on the study published Thursday in the American Journal of Epidemiology reported that the virus could impair a man’s fertility by up to 60 days. 

Study Findings

For the study, the team monitored over 2,100 women and some of their partners in the U.S. and Canada for about a year. They tracked those who got vaccinated and those who tested positive for the novel coronavirus throughout the study, which ended in November 2021. 

The researchers found that compared to men who did not test positive for COVID-19, those who did were unable to help their partners conceive within 60 days of the latter’s menstrual cycle. 

Although the study did not determine what specifically caused this phenomenon, there’s reason to believe that the infection impacted sperm production in males. One of the symptoms of COVID-19 is fever, and fevers are known to reduce sperm count and motility, as per NIH.

“Sperm production generally requires normal body temperature,” Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City director of male fertility and microsurgery Dr. Boback Berookhim told CNBC

The Remedy

The researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) said that their findings could be remedied or avoided through vaccination.

“Many reproductive-aged individuals have cited concerns about fertility as a reason for remaining unvaccinated,” BUSPH research assistant professor of epidemiology and study lead author Dr. Amelia Wesselink was quoted as saying by SciTechDaily

She continued, “Our study shows for the first time that COVID-19 vaccination in either partner is unrelated to fertility among couples trying to conceive through intercourse. Time-to-pregnancy was very similar regardless of vaccination status.”

Wesselink noted that they did not find long-term effects from COVID on both male and female fertility. However, conceiving a baby through intercourse may take a bit longer after a man has tested positive for the virus. 

A previous study focused on how COVID-19 vaccination affected women’s menstrual cycle. The team behind the research found that there was only a small and temporary change in the cycle of those who got jabbed against SARS-CoV-2. 

After monitoring nearly 4,000 U.S. women, they noticed that the next period of those who received a shot started a day later than usual. On the other hand, there was no change in the number of days the women had menstrual bleeding. 

“Based on prospective population-level data, coronavirus disease 2019 vaccination is associated with a less than 1-day change in menstrual cycle length but no change in menses length,” the team wrote in their study.

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