• Can COVID-19 Affect your Reproductive Organs?

    Information about COVID-19 continues to evolve, and we learn new things about it all the time. Because we know that seasonal flu and other viruses with high fevers tend to negatively impact male fertility, there’s been concern that this may be true of COVID-19 as well. Recent evidence seems to indicate that this concern is valid.

    One reason that viruses are thought to be harmful to a man’s fertility is that high fevers heat the testicles and damage sperm. For weeks or even months after recovering from influenza, for example, patients may experience abnormal sperm as well as a decrease in sperm count, motility, and genetic health. Since a major symptom of COVID-19 is a high fever, it’s not a leap to assume that the same will be true of that illness. Fortunately, though they may linger, the affects of a fever on male fertility are still temporary and fully reversible.

    The information we have about COVID-19, however, is still evolving. Because we’re in the early days of understanding this illness, it could be a long time before we truly understand who is at risk, how and when problems develop, how quickly they resolve, and whether they persist. There are a few different aspects of COVID-19 that researchers are looking at closely in regard to male fertility.

    A big question is whether the virus gets into the testicles. If it does, then the question becomes one of how long it remains and how much it damages the cells that produce sperm and testosterone. Recent research done by American, Chinese, and European scientists indicates that many COVID-19 patients have significant testicular cell damage without the virus actually being present in the testicles themselves. How could this be?

    One thing raising concerns among researchers is the protein enzyme to which the coronavirus binds, known as ACE2. This enzyme is on the surface of many cells in the blood vessels, heart, lungs, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, and reproductive orders, and it provides a gateway for the virus to infect these cells. Because the testes have high levels of ACE2, they’re likely to be affected. Studies have demonstrated that the virus affects hormone levels, diminishes sperm quality and concentration, and can reduce semen volume.

    The good news it that COVID-19 does not seem to be sexually transmittable. As to long-term effects, there’s no way to know at this point whether the damage done by the virus is reversible. For men who have had COVID-19, it’s advisable to see a urologist about any reproductive concerns.

    If you’re interested in reversing your vasectomy and you’re looking for an experienced professional surgical team, the Center for Vasectomy Reversal is here for you. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website, or call 941-894-6428 for a free consultation.

  • How to Protect Your Baby from COVID19

    COVID-19 has made this year frightening. We know that for adults to say safe, socially distancing and wearing face coverings are important. We agonize over whether to send children back to school, wondering if they’ll be able to understand the need to stay away from others. But what about babies and toddlers? How can you protect little ones from COVID-19?

    • First, let’s address face coverings. People over age two are advised to wear a face covering or mask when in public. As you probably know, this is primarily to protect other people. Wearing a mask even if you don’t suspect you have the virus can help keep those around you from getting it. Obviously, this applies to small children as well; when they’re surrounded by adults wearing masks, they’re protected from infection.
    • But why shouldn’t toddlers themselves wear masks? First, their smaller airways make it harder for them to breathe through cloth. Additionally, masks can have strings and elastic pieces that could cause a young child to choke. Finally, little children are likely to try to remove the mask, which will lead to a lot of face touching, and this can spread the virus.
    • Can kids even get infected with COVID-19? While most cases occur in adults, children can be infected. For most kids, the virus causes a mild illness, and in some there are no symptoms at all. However, some babies and children have gotten very sick from the virus, so while you can’t protect them by having them wear masks, it’s important to protect little children in other ways.
    • Some basic safety measures can help keep the virus at bay.
      • Keep your family at home and away from others as much as possible, only going out when it’s necessary.
      • Whether you’re at home or out and about, avoid people who are sick.
      • Wash your hands well and often and teach others in your family to do the same. Wash your hands thoroughly when you go into your home after being out, before handling your child, and before feeding your baby.
      • Try not to touch your face.
      • Clean all surfaces that people touch a lot, like doorknobs, cellphones, and countertops.
      • If you’re sick, wear a face covering at home, limit contact with your child, and sneeze or cough into a tissue rather than your hands.
      • When your baby is in an infant carrier, place a blanket over the carrier while it’s in your view, making sure the blanket doesn’t touch the baby. Wipe down your stroller or carrier when you get home.

    At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love helping people build their families. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website, or call 941-894-6428 for a free consultation.

     

  • Should you put pregnancy on hold because of COVID19?

    The COVID-19 has changed a lot of plans for a lot of people. Schools and businesses have closed, gatherings have been cancelled, and many people are quarantining at home. If you’ve been trying to start a family, should that plan be changed as well? The decision about whether or not to put your pregnancy on hold during the pandemic is multifaceted and, ultimately, deeply personal and subjective.

    It’s important to acknowledge that there’s no right answer to this question. Everyone family’s circumstance is different, and each couple has to decide for themselves when it’s the right time to have a baby. There’s not even really a scientific consensus on this issue. There are, however, a few different factors to consider.

    • First, consider your age. If you’re young and have plenty of time to get pregnant, there may be no rush to go ahead and do it now, during this uncertain time. If you’re nearing the end of your childbearing window, however, it may be worth pressing ahead.
    • Think about what you do for a living. If you work from home, there may be very little risk of you contracting the virus. If you’re working in a high-risk setting, however, this may not be such a good time. Even if you’re not on the front lines of the virus, if you’re the primary breadwinner and your employer won’t allow you to work remotely, you may consider waiting to get pregnant.
    • What are your risk factors? If you’ve got a history of high-risk pregnancies, or if you have underlying medical conditions that put you at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, you should not consider pregnancy at this time. It’s important to discuss your risk factors with your doctor, so that you can make an informed decision.
    • The pandemic is limiting medical care. Many medical practices are moving to virtual or telephone visits, and this is not ideal for prenatal care. Further, reallocation of medical resources may limit your access to care during your pregnancy. Doctors are restricting elective procedures, and this applies to fertility treatments as well. Back in March, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) issued new guidelines restricting assisted reproduction, so while you can still become pregnant naturally, your other options are limited.

    Here’s another question: does COVID-19 pose risks to the pregnancy or the baby? The answer is not entirely clear. There have been some small studies indicating the babies can contract COVID-19 from their mothers in utero. However, the babies studied all recovered quickly, as the virus seems to typically impact small children less severely than adults.

    At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love helping people build their families. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website, or call 941-894-6428 for a free consultation.