Background: The development of covid-19 vaccinations represents a notable scientific achievement. Nevertheless, concerns have been raised regarding their possible detrimental impact on male fertility OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effect of covid-19 BNT162b2 (Pfizer) vaccine on semen parameters among semen donors (SD).
Methods: Thirty-seven SD from three sperm banks that provided 216 samples were included in that retrospective longitudinal multicenter cohort study. BNT162b2 vaccination included two doses, and vaccination completion was scheduled 7 days after the second dose. The study included four phases: T0 - pre-vaccination baseline control, which encompassed 1-2 initial samples per SD; T1, T2 and T3 - short, intermediate, and long terms evaluations, respectively. Each included 1-3 semen samples per donor provided 15-45, 75-125 and over 145 days after vaccination completion, respectively. The primary endpoints were semen parameters. Three statistical analyses were conducted: (1) generalized estimated equation model; (2) first sample and (3) samples' mean of each donor per period were compared to T0.
Results: Repetitive measurements revealed -15.4% sperm concentration decrease on T2 (CI -25.5%-3.9%, p = 0.01) leading to total motile count 22.1% reduction (CI -35% - -6.6%, p = 0.007) compared to T0. Similarly, analysis of first semen sample only and samples' mean per donor resulted in concentration and total motile count (TMC) reductions on T2 compared to T0 - median decline of 12 million/ml and 31.2 million motile spermatozoa, respectively (p = 0.02 and 0.002 respectively) on first sample evaluation and median decline of 9.5 × 106 and 27.3 million motile spermatozoa (p = 0.004 and 0.003, respectively) on samples' mean examination. T3 evaluation demonstrated overall recovery without. Semen volume and sperm motility were not impaired.
Discussion: This longitudinal study focused on SD demonstrates selective temporary sperm concentration and TMC deterioration 3 months after vaccination followed by later recovery verified by diverse statistical analyses.
Conclusions: Systemic immune response after BNT162b2 vaccine is a reasonable cause for transient semen concentration and TMC decline. Long-term prognosis remains good.
Keywords: BNT162b2; Covid-19; male infertility; semen donors.
© 2022 American Society of Andrology and European Academy of Andrology.