TRUST INDEX: COVID-19 infection can cause infertility, erectile dysfunction in men, studies show

Three recent studies show getting COVID can affect men’s sexual health

SAN ANTONIO - – Scientists worldwide have found that COVID-19 vaccines are not linked to infertility. However, new research shows the virus itself may be.

The KSAT Trust Index team was asked to verify the claim that getting COVID-19 could affect a man’s sexual health, so we dove into some recent studies to find out.

A new study out of Belgium found men experienced lower sperm motility and lower sperm counts over two months after having COVID-19. It showed sperm motility was reduced in 60 percent of men less than one month after COVID-19 infection, 37 percent of men one to two months after COVID-19 infection, and 28 percent of men more than two months after infection.

Then, an even larger study from Boston University, funded by the National Institutes of Health, linked the virus that causes COVID-19 to male fertility issues.

“Male partners, if they had a COVID infection two months prior to an opportunity to conceive, there was decreased chance of getting pregnant,” said Dr. Jason Bowling, an infectious disease expert with University Health System and UT Health San Antonio.

Couples in which the male partner had tested positive within two months were 18 percent less likely to conceive.

The study mentioned possible reasons for that temporary decline in fertility:

  • fever, a common COVID-19 symptom, is known to reduce sperm count and motility
  • inflammation in the testes and nearby tissues
  • erectile dysfunction

The researchers mentioned those are all common after COVID, and Dr. Bowling said another study backs that up.

“There was a study out of the University of Florida that showed for men that have acute COVID infection, afterward they are three times more likely to be diagnosed with erectile dysfunction than if they don’t have COVID infection,” Dr. Bowling said.

The researchers in all three studies noted the issues could potentially be avoided by vaccination.

“Even more reasons for couples who are concerned with getting pregnant or fertility issues to get the COVID vaccine,” Bowling said.

So, the claim that getting COVID-19 could affect male sexual health is true on the KSAT Trust Index.

It's True

We’ve reviewed information surrounding this topic and confirmed that It’s True.

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About the Authors:

Courtney Friedman is a KSAT anchor and reporter. She has an ongoing series called Loving in Fear, confronting Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She's also covered Hurricane Harvey, the shootings in Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe, and tornadoes throughout Texas. She’s a California native and proud Longhorn who loves calling SA home.

Dominic Lawrence is an Emmy award-winning video editor at KSAT. Before coming to KSAT, he graduated from Texas Tech University while working at KCBD in Lubbock as a photojournalist. He is a Star Wars fan and enjoys spending time out with his dog.