By Jo Pugh •
Published: 20 Aug 2023 • 11:00
Covid may affect fertility, researchers have discovered. Credit: Freepik
COVID-19 could cause fertility problems – even in the long term – in men who have suffered a mild infection and without symptoms.
This is the result of a multicentre study led by the scientific coordinator of the UR International Group, with headquarters at the Vistahermosa Reproduction Unit in Alicante, which concludes that men who have suffered from SARS-CoV-2 produce less sperm, and of poorer quality, for at least three months.
Experts are investigating how long it can take to restore the quality of the semen as they have seen cases in which it has not recovered more than 500 days after having overcome the disease.
Regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not, they have recorded evident decreases in semen quality, even in donors whose pre-pandemic quality was good.
The results of the study, presented at the 39th Congress of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), held at the end of June in Copenhagen (Denmark), showed that after at least 100 days of having tested negative for covid-19 there was no improvement in the number and mobility of sperm, even if new ones had been produced during that time.
The normal number of sperm is above 15 million per millilitre.
It is something that the Human Reproduction units of some public hospitals have also observed, corroborating having treated patients of whom they have noticed a worsening of seminal quality.
“The finding that semen quality is affected in men who have suffered a mild infection by covid-19 and that these effects may be long-term is of great importance when considering male reproductive health, although more studies are needed to determine the mechanisms by which this damage is induced and persists over time”.
“Follow-up should be done on these patients who have suffered the infection, especially those who have a reproductive desire to delve into whether the infertility they suffer is due to that”, said Dr. Rocío Núñez Calonge, coordinator of the research, who published an article with her conclusions in the Science Media Centre Spain magazine.
It is advisable to visit your GP if you think this is the case.
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Jo Pugh is a journalist based in the Costa Blanca North. Originally from London, she has been involved in journalism and photography for 20 years. She has lived in Spain for 12 years, and is a dedicated and passionate writer.
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