Research into the potential of decreased fertility among male COVID-19 patients has not been verified, and experts have said it is not a concern.
A team based at the Reproductive Medicine Centre at Tongji Hospital in Wuhan, China, published research stating that it was theoretically possible that COVID-19 could impact men's reproductive health. The article was published on the medRxiv website and has not been peer-reviewed to engage in discussion with other researchers.
Several publications have clarified that the data is inaccurate and only theory-based. They stated that the research team had not performed an in-depth study to assess male fertility in patients who had been infected with COVID-19, and there is no direct supporting evidence.
In an article for the Science Media Centre, Dr. Alison Campbell, director of Embryology at the CARE fertility group, said that the study focused on 84 previously fertile men who had contracted COVID-19 and compared them to men without the infection. She said that there were several discrepancies. Firstly, the study only examined sperm quality for up to 60 days. By this point, she said that most sperm analysed would have undergone development prior to COVID-19 infection. Secondly, the study group were treated with corticosteroids and antiviral therapies, whereas the control group were not. As such, she said that further research would be needed, and that men should not be alarmed by the findings.
Meanwhile, Professor Richard Sharpe, a fertility expert at the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health at the University of Edinburgh, told Newsweek that the study presented "reasonable speculation without any direct supporting evidence." He said that while it was a legitimate topic of research, further research would be needed.
As of yet, there is no peer reviewed research or confirmed cases of decreased male fertility due to COVID-19. We have marked the claim as false.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19, including symptoms, prevention, and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organization or your national healthcare authority.