Covid-19 is likely to affect fertility in men as it may negatively affect sperm quality and damage the male reproductive system, German research finds.

According to the research published in the journal Reproduction, Covid-19 infection can cause increased sperm cell death, inflammation, and oxidative stress, resulting in lower sperm quality and potentially reducing fertility.

The research studied a group of 84 men with confirmed Covid-19 and 105 healthy men and found that the markers of inflammation and oxidative stress in sperm cells in Covid-19 infected men were increased by more than 100 per cent. The research also found that mobility increased by 209 per cent and sperm cell shape was altered by 400 per cent.

The analysis was done at 10-day intervals with a follow-up time of 60 days.

However, PhD student and lead Researcher Behzad Hajizadeh Maleki, and his team from Justus-Liebig-University, said that these effects tended to improve over time but they remained significantly and abnormally higher in Covid-19 patients. Also, the magnitude of these changes was also related to disease severity.

"The results from this study also suggest that the male reproductive system should be considered a vulnerable route of Covid-19 infection and should be declared a high-risk organ by the World Health Organization," Behzad Hajizadeh Maleki added.

However, researchers said that the subject needs more extensive studies with a longer follow-up to validate the conclusion.