16 August 2021

New research debunks theory that COVID-19 can negatively affect female fertility

New research debunks theory that COVID-19 can negatively affect female fertility

  • The presence of SARS-CoV-2 virus receptors detected in the ovaries of women with previous COVID-19 infection had raised questions about potential damage to the female reproductive system
  • New research from specialist fertility group, IVI RMA Global, detects no decrease in Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) levels in women with previous COVID-19 infection, renewing hope for those trying to conceive

 

Despite the overwhelming magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic and its global prevalence, there is very little known about the effects of SARS-CoV-2 on the female reproductive system. As fertility clinics in the UK began to resume normal activity last summer, it became a priority to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on female fertility.

Around 1 in 7 couples may have difficulty conceiving a baby, and in around a quarter of these cases, it is not possible to identify the cause.

One factor affecting fertility can be low ovarian reserve – put simply – the number of eggs left in a woman’s ovaries. This is measured by a blood test to detect the levels of anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH) which naturally decreases with age as the ovarian reserve is depleted, but may affect younger women too. 

Based on the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virus receptors in the ovary, scientists at IVI began to examine whether the ovarian reserve could be negatively affected after a COVID-19 infection.

“Between May and June 2020, 46 patients from our clinics who had previously been infected by SARS-CoV-2 were invited to participate in a research study to uncover the impact of COVID-19 on fertility. Before the study, each patient had had their AMH level tested within the last 6 months. The results of the study were very positive. Not only did they show that a SARS-CoV-2 infection had no effect on the ovarian reserve, they also allayed growing concerns that COVID-19 could negatively impact female fertility. With these results, it is safe to assume that the chances of successful fertility treatment have not been adversely impacted by a previous COVID-19 infection ”, said Dr. Cesar Diaz-Garcia, Medical Director of IVI London.

Among the women participating in the study, 35% were considered low responders according to their previous AMH level with a mean age of 38.6 years. 65% were considered normal to high responders, with a mean age of 34.7 years. In neither group was it found that a COVD-19 infection could lead to a decrease in ovarian reserve level, which is extremely encouraging for patients with a low ovarian reserve who may already have concerns about their fertility.

“Although these results hold out great hope for women who have experienced COVID-19, more data is needed to draw firm a scientific conclusion. It will be essential to increase the sample size to ensure that the results remain consistent along these lines, ”concluded Dr. Diaz.

 

For more information, please contact Press.UK@ivirma.com.

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