Does Covid-19 Affect Fertility? Covid-19 has caused massive destruction across the globe, and one might think that those who contracted the virus and narrowly missed death are lucky enough to tell the tale. Contracting Covid-19 these days doesn’t cause as much fear as before, with the availability of vaccines that guarantee increased immunity from the virus. However, if we take a look closely, the potential long-term side effects of the virus might be unfavorable. One of them is COVID’s possible effect on human fertility. Can Covid-19 affect fertility?
Does Covid-19 Affect Fertility?
What Does the Research Say?
Researchers have been working ever since the pandemic started to determine the possible effects of Covid-19 on the human reproductive system. Covid-19 cannot be transmitted sexually, that’s for sure, but the cells in the reproductive system are viable targets for the virus because they carry some receptors that the coronavirus must bind to in order to enter the cells.
Historically, some viruses cause infertility. Some infections linked to infertility are HPV virus, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV. Although respiratory viruses like coronavirus might be slightly different since it is not clear if they have the same effect. However, since both male and female reproductive organs contain receptors that the Covid-19 virus targets, it is highly likely to cause fertility issues.
Covid-19 and Fertility Issues in Men
Studies are conducted across the globe on how Covid-19 patients experience fertility effects. In these studies, researchers were able to gather evidence that sexual function in males decreased while recovering from Covid-19. *
- A Chinese study found that 61% of the patients acquired compromised sperm function.
- An Italian study concluded an online survey that Covid-19 increased the risk of erectile dysfunction by nearly sixfold.
- An Iranian study analyzed semen samples from patients and found that sperm concentration was reduced by 516% and its ability to swim by 209%.
Furthermore, fever higher than 38 degrees Celsius for three days is known to cause fertility issues in men. The increased body temperature overheats the testicles and affects the quality of sperm. While this particular effect is believed to be temporary and is completely reversible, there is no certainty if the previously mentioned numbers are also temporary or might cause lasting damage.
Covid-19 and Fertility Issues in Women
Most of the studies conducted on Covid-19 and fertility are focused on men. Although there are a few studies focused on women, there is no evidence that Covid-19 or its symptoms significantly impact women’s fertility.
However, we have to keep in mind that fertility does not end with viable sperm and egg. Fertility is also about the probability of a couple bringing home a healthy baby. Thus, whether or not Covid-19 and its symptoms could affect fertility in women, everyone should be safe and avoid contracting the virus as much as possible.
Be safe from Covid-19
Much of the studies about Covid-19 and fertility are conclusive, most of them are still undecided if the effects are temporary or permanent. None of us know the lasting impact of Covid-19 on fertility, and therefore, it is still best that we take extra precautions to avoid contracting the virus.
The best thing to do is to vaccinate. Vaccines work, and they do not negatively affect reproduction. While we know a lot of diseases that can cause infertility, not one vaccine causes fertility issues. In fact, it is much more dangerous for a pregnant woman to contract Covid-19 than to get vaccinated.
Covid-19 vaccines are just like the other vaccines we know, and doctors even recommend them to those who plan to conceive, along with other vaccines such as flu and chickenpox vaccines. Always remember that adage, “better safe than sorry.”
Once you get pregnant, congratulations. Now all you have to do is avoid these five things when you’re pregnant and ensure you eat the right food.
Other sources: https://www.houstonmethodist.org/blog/articles/2021/aug/does-covid-19-affect-male-fertility/