Covid mRNA vaccine – does it affect sperm quality?
Some men have delayed taking the Covid mRNA vaccine thinking that it would have a negative impact on fertility and the quality of the sperm. We would like to explain why it is necessary to have the vaccine. Although more research still has to be conducted on this subject, till date it has been shown that it does not affect sperm quality in a harmful way.
The mRNA vaccines protect against infectious diseases. They help the body cells make a protein – or even just a part of a protein, which causes an immune response to the body. Since the vaccines contain mRNA and not the live virus, it is not likely that they will affect the sperm quality.
Research was carried out in the USA where men were first screened to prove they had no hidden fertility issues. Those who had tested positive for Covid-19 or had symptoms of the same were not included. The participants provided semen samples prior to receiving the first dose of the vaccine, after 2 to 7 days of abstinence. The second sample was provided about 70 days after the second vaccine dose. The semen analyses were carried out as per WHO guidelines, by experienced andrologists and covered volume of the semen, as well as motility and concentration of the sperm with TMSC (total motile sperm count).
The results showed that, after the second dose of the vaccine, the median sperm concentration increased significantly and so did the median TMSC. The sperm motility and semen volume also increased. 8 of the participants were oligospermic (low sperm count). After the vaccines, 7 of these men had increased sperm concentration to normozoospermic (normal count) range and 1 man was still oligospermic. However, no participant became azoospermic (absence of sperm).
The same research showed significant increases in sperm parameters. However, the amount of the change will depend on the individual and “regression to the mean” may take place .. where while the result may show a big increase at one point, it could be closer to the “mean” or average at a future point.
The Health Ministry advised that the Covid-19 vaccines are safe and, in fact, protect pregnant women against the virus. There are some risks if pregnant women fall prone to Covid-19 – some may appear asymptomatic or have a mild attack of the Covid virus, but their health may deteriorate which could have an effect on the foetus too. Hence, taking the vaccine would help to combat the virus. As with any medicine, there may be side effects which are normally mild.
Overall, despite the above testing being done only on a limited number of men within the median age group of 28 and the short follow-up, the Covid mRNA vaccine does seem essential. It is not only required to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus. It will protect men and women from contracting the virus. This, in turn, will safeguard them from the dangers to sperm quality and fertility caused by falling prey to Covid-19.