A team of experts has said that the COVID19 pandemic that has swept across the world claiming around 2.2 million lives so far might adversely impact fertility in men. The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID19 disease, might increase sperm death, inflammation, and oxidative stress in men. The new study has shown that the COVID19 can damage sperm quality and reduce fertility in men. The study offers some shreds of direct experimental evidence that show that the viral disease can attack the male reproductive system. The findings of the study have been released in the journal Reproduction. However, some experts have said that the ability of the virus to reduce fertility in men has not been proven. Since the pandemic has hit the world, health experts have been studying the virus thoroughly to understand its evolution and complications in a better way.
They have said that the virus can cause respiratory illness among elderly people with certain underlying conditions. There have been more than 100 million confirmed cases of COVID19 around the world since the first case of coronavirus has emerged in Wuhan City of China in 2019. The disease can affect the lungs, kidneys, intestines, and heart as well. Now, experts have said that the disease can infect male reproduction organs damaging the growth of sperm cells and disturbing reproductive hormones.
Scientists from Justus-Liebig University in Germany have included around 84 men in the study. All participants of the study have been tested positive for COVID19. The study has been done at 10-day intervals for 60 days. The data of the participants have been compared with the data of 105 healthy men. Experts have claimed that sperm cells of the COVID19 patients have been found to have increased levels of inflammation and oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is known as a chemical imbalance, which can lead to damage in DNA and proteins in the body. The lead authors of the study, Behzad Hajizadeh Maleki and Bakhtyar Tartibian have said that these effects on sperm cells are linked with reduced sperm quality and fertility potential in men.
They have said that though these side effects might improve over time, however, they have been highly common in the COVID19 male patients. The authors of the study have said that these side effects increase along with the severity of the disease. Behzad Hajizadeh Maleki has said that the World Health Organization (WHO) should consider male reproductive organs a highly susceptible route for COVID19 and declare them as high-risk organs.
Experts who have not been involved in the study have lauded the findings of the study. They have said that there is a need for further research to fully validate the findings of the study. Scientists from the CARE Fertility Group in the UK have said that as of now men should not be alarmed about the risk as there is no definitive evidence of long-term damage to sperm quality and male reproductive organs caused by the virus. Some experts have said that the data of the study might have been distorted as the men who have been recovering from the disease have been treated with corticosteroids and antiviral treatments while the control group has not been given such treatments.
They have said that the signs of declining sperm quality might be due to some other reasons, as most of the COVID19 patients have been overweight during the study. As per the experts, a febrile illness can affect sperm production irrespective of the cause of the illness. In the new study, one group has been very sick while the other group has been healthy, it might have affected the outcomes, said the experts.