SARS-CoV-2 infection, male fertility and sperm cryopreservation: a position statement of the Italian Society of Andrology and Sexual Medicine (SIAMS) (Società Italiana di Andrologia e Medicina della Sessualità)

J Endocrinol Invest. 2020 May 27;1-5. doi: 10.1007/s40618-020-01290-w. Online ahead of print.


Purpose: The recent pandemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) due to coronavirus (CoV) 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has raised several concerns in reproductive medicine. The aim of this review is to summarize available evidence providing an official position statement of the Italian Society of Andrology and Sexual Medicine (SIAMS) METHODS: A comprehensive Pubmed, Web of Science, Embase, Medline and Cochrane library search was performed. Due to the limited evidence and the lack of studies, it was not possible to formulate recommendations according to the Oxford 2011 Levels of Evidence criteria.

Results: Several molecular characteristics of the SARS-CoV-2 can justify the presence of virus within the testis and possible alterations of spermatogenesis and endocrine function. Orchitis has been reported as a possible complication of SARS-CoV infection, but similar findings have not been reported for SARS-CoV-2. Alternatively, the orchitis could be the result of a vasculitis as COVID-19 has been associated with abnormalities in coagulation and the segmental vascularization of the testis could account for an orchitis-like syndrome. Finally, available data do not support the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in plasma seminal fluid of infected subjects.

Conclusion: Data derived from other SARS-CoV infections suggest that in patients recovered from COVID-19, especially for those in reproductive age, andrological consultation and evaluation of gonadal function including semen analysis should be suggested. Studies in larger cohorts of currently infected subjects are warranted to confirm (or exclude) the presence of risks for male gametes that are destined either for cryopreservation in liquid nitrogen or for assisted reproduction techniques.

Keywords: COVID-19; Male fertility; SARS-CoV-2; Semen cryopreservation.