Coronavirus COVID-19 Infection could Affect Men’s Fertility
A study carried out by Spanish midwives suggests that COVID-19 could affect fertility, especially in men. The reason would be in the role that an enzyme plays (the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2) both in the hormonal and reproductive functions of our body, as well as in the coronavirus infection. This could lead to problems in sperm production, in the case of men, and short-term alterations in menstruation in women.
“They are conclusions of few studies. We still have to continue investigating this issue ”, tells RTVE.es Maria Arques Abellan, midwife and author of the article carried out together with other obstetric specialists from the Murcian hospitals Virgen de la Arrixaca, Santa Lucia, Los Arcos del Mar Menor and Rafael Mendez, and that has been presented at the 2nd National COVID-19 Congress this week.
A theoretical hypothesis
“The hypothesis was mainly theoretical,” explains Arques about the starting point of the study that they have carried out from the review of all the existing scientific literature on the matter, and she places us in a hormonal system. Specifically, in the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, which participates in the functions of the testes and ovaries, among others.
“The angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, which acts in this hormonal system, is very present in the testicle,” she explains, and is the same one that “captures” the coronavirus in our body when infection occurs. That is, it is “the main receptor for SARS-CoV-2.”
Influence on sperm production
“As this enzyme is linked to the process of sperm formation and testicular functions in general, there could be a possible alteration of the functions of the testicle and its fertility”, he develops on the greater impact on men.
Furthermore, “from blood samples, there are studies that have observed an increase in luteinizing hormone, which acts on other testicular hormones. This would lower testosterone and could cause a decrease in sperm production ”.
Menstrual changes after COVID-19
On the contrary, the impact would be less in women because there is “a lesser expression of this on the ovary.” However, changes in the menstrual cycle have been reported in those who have passed COVID-19. According to Arques, “it would be longer and also with a lower volume of blood loss during infection.”
“” Menstrual changes resolved between one and two months after infection “”
In this case, research carried out so far has been able to conclude that menstrual alterations last for a short time. “In 99% of the reported cases, these menstrual changes have resolved between one and two months after infection,” the researcher details.
More research is needed
Arques does not stop remembering that the conclusions are “very, very early”, because there are still few studies in this regard. “We have included 22 studies in our review, which is all that existed.”
Therefore, and “to get more solid conclusions”, he calls for more research. “The important thing is that studies of this type continue to be carried out, that the notifications of the same patients, the cases found, the complications that have occurred at this level are collected, in order to continue to draw conclusions and also to be able to assess the long-term scope term”.