Sperm quality is impaired for months for some people after recovery from Covid-19, researchers have found.
The semen itself was not infectious, the researchers found.
But among 35 men who provided samples within a month after recovery from symptomatic infection, reductions in sperm motility were evident in 60% and sperm counts were reduced in 37%.
As reported on Monday in Fertility and Sterility semen samples were obtained from 120 Belgian men with an average age of 35 years, at an average of 52 days after their COVID-19 symptoms had resolved.
Among 51 men tested between one and two months after recovery, 37% had reduced sperm motility and 29% had low sperm counts.
Among 34 men who provided semen samples at least two months after recovery, sperm motility was impaired in 28% and sperm counts were low in 6%.
The severity of COVID-19 infection was not correlated with sperm characteristics.
“Couples with a desire for pregnancy should be warned that sperm quality after COVID-19 infection can be suboptimal,” the researchers concluded.
“The estimated recovery time is 3 months, but further follow-up studies are under way to confirm this and to determine if permanent damage occurred in a minority of men.”