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Covid-19 may temporarily affect sperm quality: Study

PUNJAB NEWS LINE | January 25, 2024 02:10 PM

Beijing: Covid-19 infection can impact the quality of sperm, but only temporarily, according to a study.

The Covid-19 pandemic has raised concerns regarding its potential impact on male reproductive health. However, the impact of Covid-19 on sperm quality remains uncertain.

A team of Chinese researchers aimed to investigate the short-term and relatively long-term effects of Covid-19 infection on sperm quality. They included a total of 85 males with fertility requirements, who underwent semen evaluation at Guilin People's Hospital between June 2022 and July 2023.

Changes in semen parameters were analysed across three specific timeframes: within 6 months before Covid-19 infection, within 3 months after Covid-19 infection, and three-six months after Covid-19 recovery.

The results, published in Virology Journal, revealed that the sperm concentration and total sperm number were significantly lower after infection compared to before. However, in the recovery period, the sperm concentration, total sperm count, progressive motility, and normal morphology significantly increased.

Comparing the three periods, the most significant difference was observed in sperm concentration, which exhibited a significant decrease after infection but returned to normal levels after recovery from Covid-19.

"These findings suggest that Covid-19 may exert some impact on sperm quality, particularly evidenced by decreased sperm concentration post-infection," said Qi-Feng Zhang, Department of Andrology at the Hospital in China.

"Our subsequent research across three specific time frames, before Covid-19 infection, within three months after infection, and three-six months after recovery, reaffirmed a noteworthy decrease in sperm concentration and total sperm count after infection, but within three to six months after recovery, the sperm concentration returned to the pre-infection level.

"This provides conclusive evidence for the impact of Covid-19 on sperm cycle-dependent parameters, with a possible mechanism involving temporary suppression of sperm production due to SARS-CoV-2 infection, specifically through the temporal immune-mediated arrest of active meiosis. However, this mechanism is temporary," Zhang said.

However, further research is needed to explore the underlying mechanisms and long-term implications of these observed changes in semen parameters, the researchers said.

 

 
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