(CNN)Severe cases of Covid-19 might impact the quality of a man’s sperm, thus possibly impacting his fertility, according to a new study published Thursday in the journal Reproduction.
“This report provides the first direct evidence to date that COVID-19 infection impairs semen quality and male reproductive potential,” the study said.
However, experts not involved in the study were immediately skeptical about the report’s conclusion and urged caution in overgeneralizing the research findings.
“I need to raise a strong note of caution in their interpretation of this data. For example, the authors state that their data demonstrates that ‘COVID-19 infection causes significant impairments of male reproductive function’ yet it only actually shows an association,” said Allan Pacey, a professor of andrology at The University of Sheffield in South Yorkshire, United Kingdom, via email.
“Being ill from any virus such as flu can temporarily drop your sperm count (sometimes to zero) for a few weeks or months. This makes it difficult to work out how much of the reductions observed in this study were specific to COVID-19 rather than just from being ill,” said Dr. Channa Jayasena, a consultant in reproductive endocrinology and andrology at Imperial College London, in an email.