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As the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the world, scientists have started studying the long-term effects of the disease on those who survive it. One of the most recent discoveries is about how the virus affects fertility.
While studies are still being performed on women, and it is uncertain of how their chances of conceiving are affected after having suffered COVID-19, the studies carried out in men, especially those who have suffered a severe form of the illness, show that, in many cases, reduced fertility can be linked directly to the virus. This can be worrisome for couples trying to conceive and can become a more significant issue if they already have an infertility background.
The question is now, "How does this happen?"
A High Fever Can Affect Fertility
One of the things all male COVID-19 survivors must keep in mind if they are looking to conceive is that all diseases that present a high fever can affect sperm production. This self-limiting and reversible effect usually takes place in the acute phase of the disease but usually only lasts around three months, after which sperm counts return to normal levels.
However, this does not exclude the possibility of a more permanent effect due to other problems that have still not been discovered.
Effects of Severe COVID-19 in Men
Studies have found that fertility has been most affected among men who present the disease symptomatically, with severe symptoms of COVID-19, and/or who require in-patient hospital treatment. These same studies have shown that men who are able to deal with their symptoms at home don't present reduced fertility effects; at least, they do in lesser numbers.
It is still unclear if those who are asymptomatic will also experience fertility complications.
It is known that other coronaviruses have a profound effect at a testicular lever and can even generate permanent fertility problems. This is because coronaviruses, and especially COVID-19, have a type of receptor that is abundant in men's genital and reproductive cells. Because of this, coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS have proven to cause permanent damage in some men. Unfortunately, the studies currently being carried out show similar evidence for COVID-19.
Sadly, these same studies have shown that patients of all ages can be affected, although those over the age of 60 seem to be more susceptible. Even so, it is recommended that all men of reproductive age be evaluated for fertility and testosterone level issues to prevent any further problems.
There is a lot of misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine and whether or not the vaccine can cause fertility problems in men. The most accurate information available now supports the fact that it is the virus itself that creates these issues, and not the vaccine.