Coronavirus is notorious for many unpleasant health consequences – lung, heart, vascular, kidney and liver problems, weakened immunity and impaired vision are not uncommon afterwards. However, many are afraid that covid can lead to infertility. Is this true – tell our medical expert.
Safe for women, dangerous for men
Let’s start with the good news – there is very little data on who coronavirus affects female fertility (ability to conceive). There are now just over 70 observational studies of pregnant women with it. According to these studies, only about 2% of children born to mothers with covid tested positive for the virus. A decrease in a woman’s ability to get pregnant is nowhere to be found.
However, the bad news immediately follows – the negative effect of Covid-19 on men’s ability to conceive has been confirmed by both scientific studies and by doctors in practice. The representatives of the stronger sex have a very strong decrease in the number of sperm production after the disease. Sometimes there is an absolute absence of sperm (azoospermia).
Coronavirus affects male fertility because a large amount of ACE 2 receptor is produced in the testicles. Because of this, the coronavirus quickly affects their tissues, causing orchitis – inflammation of the testicles. Covid provokes the development of some autoimmune processes, also provoking infertility in the stronger sex.
What to do if a man has had coronavirus and now cannot conceive? First of all, a diagnosis is needed, which will show whether the man has problems with fertility. To do this, you need to see an andrologist, who will prescribe the appropriate tests:
Spermogram with sperm morphology (according to Krueger) – shows the overall condition of the seminal fluid, and reveals the number of sperm with a perfect morphological structure. The doctor analyzes the structure of their head, neck and tail, and also assesses the man’s fertility level, discovering the causes of his infertility. This analysis is also used to see if conception is possible through an in vitro fertilization (IVF) program. You need more than 4% of healthy sperm in your sperm to get pregnant. At 3% or less your doctor may suggest an IVF protocol – such as ICSI;
MAR test (mixed antiglobulin reaction) – Detects immunological causes of decreased male fertility. It indicates the number of sperm associated with IgG and IgA antibodies. A positive result indicates that most sperm are unsuitable for fertilization because of anti-sperm antibodies – this is immunological infertility;
DNA fragmentation test in sperm cells – needed to see if the DNA strands in the germ cells are destroyed. The norm of fragmentation is no higher than 15%. With high values, first, the chance of conception decreases, and second, the risk of cancer and genetic diseases in the child increases.
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The first option is a course of treatment, which lasts 2.5-3 months, since the time of spermatogenesis is 3 months. The therapy is selected by an andrologist. He also controls the course of treatment, and if it was unsuccessful, the doctor may refer the couple to a reproductologist.
Reproduction specialists use assisted reproductive technologies (ART), selecting healthy eggs and sperm for conception under the IVF program. His ICSI (ICSI) and PICSI (PICSI) techniques help significantly reduce the effects of covid infection that causes infertility.
In ICSI, the healthiest and most motile sperm is placed in a micro-needle and injected into an egg. PICSI (PICSI) studies the ability of the sperm to interact with hyaluronic acid, as this substance is surrounded by the egg in vivo. Only a functionally mature sperm that can dissolve the acid with special receptors can fertilize the egg. The presence of such receptors is assessed by the PICSI method.
IVF allows picking up high-quality genetic material – healthy gametes. If a woman gets infected with coronavirus during IVF, the clinic must create conditions for her that minimize the risk of complications. Follicle harvesting will take place in a separate box, with antibacterial prophylaxis.