Health & Fitness | November 10, 2020 12:37 pm

COVID-19 Could Affect Male Fertility, New Research Suggests

Researchers discovered the virus in the testicles, which might be bad news for fertility down the line

covid-19 illustration
Is COVID coming for your testicles?
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Months into the pandemic, we’re still learning new, often bad and sometimes contradictory things about the coronavirus every day. Now, researchers have discovered that COVID-19 could impact male fertility, according to a new study by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

An evaluation of tissue from the autopsies of six men who died from COVID-19 revealed the virus was still present in the testicles, which researchers suggest means that COVID-19 could affect fertility.

“We also identified the presence of the virus in a man who underwent a testes biopsy for infertility but had a previous history of COVID-19,” said Dr. Ranjith Ramasamy, an associate professor and director of reproductive urology at the Miller School. “So the patient tested negative and was asymptomatic after having COVID-19 but still showed the presence of the virus inside the testes. The finding is novel, remarkable, and certainly worthy of further exploration.”

While it’s unclear how exactly COVID-19 might affect fertility, Ramasamy suggested effects of some kind are likely to become apparent in some male COVID-19 patients down the line.

“I’m fairly certain, just like mumps, about 20 to 30 percent of men are going to have some sort of affected fertility in their future,” said Ramasamy.

Based on the new research, Ramasamy also suggested men who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are experiencing testicular pain should be seen by a urologist.

“Testicular pain along with other symptoms could be a sign that COVID-19 has entered the testis,” said Ramasamy. “If men are thinking about fertility and/or low testosterone either at present or in the future, they should get their testosterone levels evaluated with a blood test and sperm parameters evaluated with a semen analysis.”