AIIMS Study Shows COVID Infection Negatively Impacts Semen Quality

Team Parvasi – Inside

All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has conducted a study that shows COVID infection could negatively affect semen quality. The researchers noted that assisted reproductive technology (ART) clinics and sperm banking facilities should also take into consideration the semen quality of males infected with COVID-19.

A team of researchers at AIIMS Patna, working with researchers from AIIMS Managalagiri and AIIMS New Delhi, analyzed data from 30 COVID-19 male patients aged 19-45 who participated in the study between October 2020 and April 2021. The objective was to analyze the effect of COVID on semen quality and sperm DNA fragmentation index, which is an indicator of sperm damage.

Describing the testing methodology, the authors of the study stated, “We conducted a real-time reverse transcriptase test on all the semen samples. Detailed semen analysis, including the sperm DNA fragmentation index, was done at first sampling that is during COVID-19. After 74 days of the first sampling, we obtained the second sampling and repeated all the tests.”

After collecting both rounds of samples, researchers performed RT-PCR tests on the semen and found that it was negative for SARS-CoV-2. It was found that semen volume, sperm concentration, total motility, total sperm count, and vitality were significantly lower in the first sampling. On the other hand, it was also found that semen agglutination, DNA fragmentation index, head defect, leukocytes, liquefaction time, and semen viscosity were increased.

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For the second sampling, these results were reversed, the researchers noted. “COVID-19 negatively affects semen parameters, including sperm DNA fragmentation index. Although we could not find SARS-CoV-2 in the semen, the semen quality remained poor until the second sampling,” the authors stated.

Following the results of this study, researchers state that sperm banking facilities and assisted reproductive technology (ART) clinics should also consider the quality of semen for COVID-19-infected males. The researchers also noted that these clinics should exclude men that have had a positive history of SARS-CoV-2 till their semen quality returns to normal. It is unclear how long this would take.

The study has been published in the Cureus Journal of Medical Science.

Vineet Washington


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