Further research from the University of Georgia has revealed that in severe cases of men infected with COVID-19, testicular function may be impaired, therefore resulting in a reduction of male fertility. Scientists have previously established that COVID-19 will infect multiple organs around the body through two major proteins which act as “doors” for the virus: ACE2 receptors and transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2).
Clinical reports have indicated the testicles produce both proteins, it will therefore make them relatively susceptible to viral infection and potential cell damage.
In terms of long COVID, the virus causes lingering damage to organs such as the heart and lungs, additionally it also appears to cause damage in the blood-testis barrier and reduces fertility by impacting sperm count and sperm quality. Negative effects on sperm quality have shown to also lead to birth defects in offspring.
Although there needs to be further investigations into the effect COVID-19 has on male fertility, it does appear that there is evidence to suggest the virus is having a detrimental impact on sperm production and sperm quality.