IHR doctors, Drs Tur-Kaspa and Cohen, and their interns have published a timely and important review in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Fertility & Sterility Reviews: “COVID-19 may affect male fertility but is not sexually transmitted: a systematic review”.
The aim of this paper was to review all of the global clinical data regarding COVID-19 effects on reproductive organs and cells, in order to investigate if COVID-19 affects male and/or female fertility and if it should be classified as a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
From a public health perspective, this distinction is very important with the spread of the virus. In addition, it is important for the clinical work of IVF labs and FDA guidelines outlining sperm and egg donations in the United States.
The conclusion of Dr. Tur-Kaspa and Dr. Cohen’s review was that COVID-19 is not an STD, since there has been no clinical evidence that the virus is present in sperm, eggs, or vaginal fluids, nor is it transmitted through intercourse.
However, there is evidence suggesting that COVID-19 may affect male fertility, and it should be further investigated. This happens primarily because of the negative effect that having a fever has on sperm, and because a viral infection may cause an inflammation reaction in the testes. It is not yet clear if COVID-19’s deleterious effect on sperm count and motility, as well as testosterone levels, is permanent or not.
So far there have been no studies demonstrating COVID-19’s effect on women’s ovarian reserve or fertility.
The authors suggest that recovered patients of COVID-19, especially those with infertility, should be further evaluated and followed up for their ovarian and testicular function.
This paper was presented in part at The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) 2020 Virtual Scientific Congress & Expo, October 17-21, 2020 (as a Late Breaking News).