Does Coronavirus negatively affect the male reproductive tract? The evidence so far

Important questions for young couples attempting to conceive have arisen during the pandemic. One such question is, does this illness affect the male reproductive tract? While multiple studies have been performed attempting to address this question, the results have been mixed so far.

Two studies found no evidence of coronavirus in semen an average of over one month following a positive COVID 19 test. On the other hand, one study found a small number of men (6/38) had the novel coronavirus present in semen either during their acute illness or early in their recovery.

Additionally, one of the previously mentioned studies did find that total motile sperm counts were decreased among men with a recent history of COVID 19. It is important to note, however, that this is not an uncommon finding after any febrile illness.

“Right now, the honest answer is we’re not sure,” says Dr. Luke Machen in regards to whether COVID-19 may be sexually transmitted. “That being said, it would likely be smart to avoid sexual encounters while actively infected for a variety of reasons.” Dr. Machen added, “I am counseling my male fertility patients that there is likely a transient decrease in their semen parameters just like with any other febrile illness.”