Since its discovery in December 2019, the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has spread globally, causing the current COVID-19 (coronavirus disease-19) pandemic. As there is an increase of infections in the male population, concerns have emerged about the potential impact of COVID-19 on male reproductive organs and male fertility.
Therefore, this study systematically investigates the current evidence of SARS-CoV-2 impact on male reproduction and pregnancy outcomes, discussing them in light of the evidence published on other coronaviruses.
Literature search was carried out according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. A total of 24 original articles were included for the analysis, investigating the effects of the infection on semen parameters, male reproductive hormones, and pregnancy outcomes. Further, a Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats (SWOT) analysis was conducted based on the available evidence linking the virus with male reproduction and conception.
Although there is limited data, viral mRNA has been identified in semen of infected men, with some evidence of altered seminal parameters. Low testosterone and dihydrotestosterone with raised luteinizing hormone has been reported as well as preterm delivery in pregnant women; however, data regarding vertical transmission remains contradictory and inconclusive.
The recent literature provides evidence that male gonads may be potentially vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 infection, recommending caution to pregnant women and couples planning natural pregnancy or assisted reproduction.
The world journal of men's health. 2020 Aug 14 [Epub ahead of print]
Mohammad Ali Khalili, Kristian Leisegang, Ahmad Majzoub, Renata Finelli, Manesh Kumar Panner Selvam, Ralf Henkel, Moshrefi Mojgan, Ashok Agarwal
Research and Clinical Center for Infertility, Yazd Reproductive Sciences Institute, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran., School of Natural Medicine, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa., Department of Urology, Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar., American Center for Reproductive Medicine, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, USA., Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction at Imperial College London, London, UK., American Center for Reproductive Medicine, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, USA. .