New research is underscoring the importance of young men receiving the coronavirus vaccine. Experts warn that the virus’s impact on male fertility can have more damaging effects than the vaccine’s side effects.
“The risk of COVID infection on fertility is way worse than the vaccine could ever be,” Dr. Amin Herati, an expert in male infertility at Johns Hopkins University, told ABC 15.
Dr. Herati added that there is currently no research to suggest that the coronavirus vaccines may have a negative impact on male fertility. There is, however, a growing body of evidence that indicates contracting COVID-19 can reduce male fertility, specifically sperm count.
Recently, a group of researchers at the University of Miami Health System studied the impact of the COVID-19 virus and vaccine on male fertility, The Denver Channel reports. They found that the virus is able to live in male reproductive organs for months after the initial infection. This can lead to temporary problems, they explained.
Rumors and false reports about COVID-19 vaccines affecting fertility continue to circulate, adding to vaccine hesitancy. https://t.co/elncaw9AfC
— WRTV Indianapolis (@wrtv) June 27, 2021
Specifically, men who had recently contracted the virus appeared to have a lower sperm count than their counterparts who were not COVID positive, ABC 15 reports. However, the researchers observed that sperm count often returned to pre-COVID levels within six months.
The researchers also looked at the sperm count of male participants after receiving either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. They did not find evidence to suggest that the vaccines lead to a decline in sperm count or have any other sort of negative impact on male fertility.
This is not the first study to suggest coronavirus may cause damage to sperm count. For example, earlier this year, researchers at The University of Sheffield also discovered COVID-19 can affect the quality of sperm in men, CNN reports. The results were published in the journal Reproduction in January. The researchers note their findings only showed an association, and further studies are needed to inquire into how and why sperm quality or count may be affected.
At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that a COVID-19 infection negatively impacts female fertility. Dr. Zaher Merhi, MD, FACOG, HCLD, a board-certified OBGYN, previously told us there is no reason to assume the virus impacts a woman’s chances of getting pregnant. However, he adds the research into coronavirus’s impact on male and female fertility is currently limited.
While the virus itself may cause fertility issues, especially for men, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasizes that the vaccines have not been linked to any fertility-related issues. The CDC continues to encourage everyone who is eligible to receive the vaccine, including pregnant and breastfeeding women. Please speak to your healthcare provider for more information.
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