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Coronavirus could leave men infertile by damaging testicular cells, study warns

In the study, the researchers reported that the virus was found in the sperm of 13% of male Covid-19 patients. [Photo: Courtesy]

Coronavirus could leave male patients infertile by damaging testicular cells, a new study has warned. Researchers from Sheba Medical Centre in Israel say that male Covid-19 patients who have moderate or severe cases could experience reduced fertility.

In the study, the researchers reported that the virus was found in the sperm of 13% of male Covid-19 patients. However, they also noted a 50% decrease in the sperm volume, concentration and motility in patients – even 30 days post-diagnosis. Meanwhile, post-mortem tests of 12 Covid-19 patients revealed moderate to sever changes in the testicular cells supporting sperm production, and those producing testosterone.

While the research is yet to be published, Dr Dan Aderka, who led the study, warned that Covid-19 could be even more detrimental to men than realised.

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Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, he said: “As normal sperm maturation takes 70 to 75 days, it is possible that if we are doing a sperm examination two and a half months after recovery, we may see even more reduced fertility. It could be even more detrimental.” Worryingly, the researchers are unsure whether the changes are temporary or permanent.

This isn’t the first time that doctors have warned that coronavirus may cause damage to men’s testicles. Back in March, researchers from Wuhan’s Tongji Hospital urged male coronavirus patients to have their fertility tested once they’ve recovered.

In their study, the researchers, led by Professor Li Yufeng, explained: “New coronavirus infections are mainly caused by damage to the lungs and immune system, but in theory new coronavirus infections can also cause testicular damage.

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“Therefore, the team of Professor Li Yufeng from the Reproductive Medicine Center of Tongji Hospital reminded that: males infected with new coronary pneumonia should undergo fertility examination after rehabilitation.”

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