A new study, published in the Cureus Journal of Medical Science, has found that the semen quality of people who were infected with COVID-19 has gone down.
Here’s all you need to know.
The Research Method: Researchers from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences Patna, Delhi, and Mangalagiri conducted a semen analysis study on 30 participants (19-45 years of age) who were recovering from COVID-19 at the hospital’s Patna facility.
Conducted between October 2020-April 2021, the researchers took the patient’s semen sample right after the infection and then 2.5 months after it.
Sperm Count Not Optimum: When the first sample was taken, the semen quality turned out to be poor. 40 percent of the participants had sperm count less than 39 million per ejaculation.
In the second sampling, while the SARS-CoV-2 virus was not found in the men, their semen quality (or sperm test count) was still not adequate. This time around, 10 percent of the participants had low sperm count.
Semen Volume Also Lower: 33 percent participants also had semen volume lower than 1.5 ml, which was lesser than the optimum levels.
Similarly, the viscosity, vitality, sperm concentration, and total motility of the semen were lower as well in the samples.
Factors at Cause:
Increased production of reactive oxidative stress
Increased levels of leukocytes
What The Researchers Said:
Although we could not find SARS-CoV-2 in the semen, the semen quality remained poor until the second sampling. One of the primary symptoms of COVID-19 is a high grade fever, which may disrupt the blood-testis barrier exposing the sperm cells and testicular tissues to circulating cytokines and other inflammatory mediators generated in the body. This may result in a systemic inflammatory state and immune response against the seminiferous epithelium and accessory glands resulting in low semen quality.
What Next? The researchers have suggested that Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) centres take note of this and see what can be done to bring the semen quality back to normal in people who have been infected with COVID-19.