As the pandemic has continued to impact more people getting infected with COVID 19, more data has been evaluated on the effect of the virus in different areas of health. Dr. Parviz Kavoussi was interviewed on CBS news regarding a new study published in Fertility & Sterility assessing COVID 19 infection impact on male fertility. This was a study in unvaccinated Belgian men who were diagnosed with and recovered from COVID 19. They were tested at time intervals including soon after infection (1 week to 1 month), intermediate time interval (1-2 months) and the later time frame (2-6 months) after recovery from infection. This study showed that COVID 19 is not sexually transmittable from a man to his partner after he has recovered from the infection. It also showed that the sperm count and motility were lowest in the early time interval after recovering from infection and with time they improved, but it may take months to recover these semen parameters. Only 25% of men after infection revealed normal sperm parameter values at the early time interval after recovery.
This is all expected with any infection that causes a fever, as fever is known to temporarily decrease sperm parameters, regardless of the cause of the fever. Dr. Kavoussi states, “The surprising part of this study was that there was not a correlation with the severity of the semen parameter values and whether men had fevers with the COVID 19 infection or not”. So, in the study, they investigated further to see what may cause this effect if it is not due to fevers. There was a correlation with how robust the immune response was to the virus and how severe the semen parameters were. They also found that at the early time interval after recovery from infection, 29% of the men had elevated DNA fragmentation (sperm DNA damage rate), which has been correlated with lower pregnancy rates and higher miscarriage rates. This improved with longer time intervals from recovery from infection. Dr. Kavoussi states of the study, “overall this is very useful information, but it must be kept in mind that these are results seen in unvaccinated men and these results cannot necessarily be translated to men who have been vaccinated. How the virus impacts male fertility in vaccinated men remains unknown.”
Watch the news story here.