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Volume 25, Issue 3 (May 2023) 25, 382–388; 10.4103/aja202250

Effects of mild/asymptomatic COVID-19 on semen parameters and sex-related hormone levels in men: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Bang-Wei Che, Pan Chen, Ying Yu, Wei Li, Tao Huang, Wen-Jun Zhang, Sheng-Han Xu, Jun He, Miao Liu, Kai-Fa Tang

Department of Urology, The Affiliated Hospital of Guizhou Medical University, Guiyang 550004, China

Correspondence: Dr. KF Tang (tangkaifa@gmc.edu.cn)



Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has yet to be proven to alter male reproductive function, particularly in the majority of mild/asymptomatic patients. The purpose of this study was to explore whether mild/asymptomatic COVID-19 affects semen quality and sex-related hormone levels. To find suitable comparative studies, a systematic review and meta-analysis was done up to January 22, 2022, by using multiple databases (Web of Science, PubMed, and Embase). Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines were used to identify and choose the studies. Meta-analysis was used to examine the semen parameters and sex-related hormones of mild/asymptomatic COVID-19 patients before and after infection. The effects of semen collection time, fever, and intensity of verification on semen following infection were also investigated. A total of 13 studies (n = 770) were included in the analysis, including three case-control studies, six pre-post studies, and four single-arm studies. A meta-analysis of five pre-post studies showed that after infection with COVID-19, sperm concentration (I2 = 0; P = 0.003), total sperm count (I2 = 46.3%; P = 0.043), progressive motility (I2 = 50.0%; P < 0.001), total sperm motility (I2 = 76.1%; P = 0.047), and normal sperm morphology (I2 = 0; P = 0.001) decreased. Simultaneously, a systematic review of 13 studies found a significant relationship between semen collection time after infection, inflammation severity, and semen parameter values, with fever having only bearing on semen concentration. Furthermore, there was no significant difference in sex-related hormone levels before and after infection in mild/asymptomatic patients. Mild/asymptomatic COVID-19 infection had a significant effect on semen quality in the short term. It is recommended to avoid initiating a pregnancy during this period of time.
    Keywords: coronavirus disease 2019; male infertility; meta-analysis; semen quality; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2

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Asian Journal of Andrology CN 31-1795/R ISSN 1008-682X  Copyright © 2023  Shanghai Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences.  All rights reserved.