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COVID-19 AND FERTILITY

Covid-19 and Fertility


There is a tendency that SARS-CoV-2 could affect sperm production. The testicular cells have high levels of the ACE2 receptor, which allows SARS-CoV-2 to get inside cells. Only a little research have searched for SARS-CoV-2 in semen from men who tested positive for the virus; those studies found the coronavirus in semen from some patient but not all had Low spermcount during infection or recovery.


A new research from China, published in October 2020 in the journal EClinicalMedicine, has discovered lower sperm counts in men who had COVID-19, but this small study included just 23 patients.


The present research, the researchers collected saliva, urine and semen samples from the patients about 30 days after they had recovered from COVID-19, which was defined as having two consecutive negative COVID-19 tests


Men who have recovered from COVID-19 might be at risk of developing low sperm count, at least in the short-term.


The study researchers, from the University of Florence in Italy, examined semen samples from 43 men ages 30 to 65 about one month after they had recovered from COVID-19. The researchers found that 25% of the men they examined had low sperm count, and nearly 20% had azoospermia, or the total absence of sperm in semen. 


Patients with  COVID-19 infections were hospitalized or admitted to the intensive care unit (IUC) — which they were more likely to have azoospermia after their infection, compared with those who faced less serious infections, according to the study, published on the  1st of February in the journal Human Reproduction. 


The researchers who continue their study do not prove that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, harms the sperm. The researchers do not  know what the men's sperm counts were before their infections, so the authors can not conclude for sure if the counts declined post-infection; but all the men with azoospermia had formerly fathered children, which means they had at least viable sperm in the past. The medications given to treat COVID-19, some such as antivirals, antibiotics and corticosteroids, could affect sperm counts. 


Research shows that only one patient had SARS-CoV-2 discovered in their semen, suggesting that "the occurrence of virus in semen is a rare event," after recovery, 


The researchers also discover that three -quarters of the patient overall and 100% of the patients admitted to the ICU had high levels of interleukin 8 (IL-8), an immune system molecule and marker of inflammation, in their semen. Sickness generally may have an effect on semen.


Berookhim said he is not convinced that patients who have been infected with COVID-19 necessarily require prolonged follow-up to analyze their sperm. A clear data and experience is needed dealing with the aftermath of COVID, and so more follow-up will help to better define which patients are most at risk for negative reproductive effects due to COVID 19.


Certain viral illnesses are known to have a long term adverse effect on fertility. Mumps can lead to inflammation of the testicles, known as orchitis, which can yield to infertility in some cases.

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