Prior and novel coronaviruses, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), and human reproduction: what is known?

American Society for Reproductive Medicine Coronavirus/COVID-19 Task Force

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Objective: To summarize current understanding of the effects of novel and prior coronaviruses on human reproduction, specifically male and female gametes, and in pregnancy. Design: Review of English publications in PubMed and Embase to April 6, 2020. Method(s): Articles were screened for reports including coronavirus, reproduction, pathophysiology, and pregnancy. Intervention(s): None. Main Outcome Measure(s): Reproductive outcomes, effects on gametes, pregnancy outcomes, and neonatal complications. Result(s): Seventy-nine reports formed the basis of the review. Coronavirus binding to cells involves the S1 domain of the spike protein to receptors present in reproductive tissues, including angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2), CD26, Ezrin, and cyclophilins. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 1 (SARS–CoV-1) may cause severe orchitis leading to germ cell destruction in males. Reports indicate decreased sperm concentration and motility for 72–90 days following Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection. Gonadotropin-dependent expression of ACE2 was found in human ovaries, but it is unclear whether SARS–Coronavirus 2 (CoV-2) adversely affects female gametogenesis. Evidence suggests that COVID-19 infection has a lower maternal case fatality rate than SARS or Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), but anecdotal reports suggest that infected, asymptomatic women may develop respiratory symptoms postpartum. Coronavirus Disease 2019 infections in pregnancy are associated with preterm delivery. Postpartum neonatal transmission from mother to child has been reported. Conclusion(s): Coronavirus Disease 2019 infection may affect adversely some pregnant women and their offspring. Additional studies are needed to assess effects of SARS–CoV-2 infection on male and female fertility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1140-1149
Number of pages10
JournalFertility and sterility
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2020


  • COVID-19
  • Novel coronavirus
  • pregnancy
  • reproduction
  • review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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