Background: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a virus that is present in most bodily fluids. However, whether SARS-CoV-2 is present in the semen remains underexplored. Thus, we systematically reviewed the existing studies on the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in semen. Methods: A literature search of the PubMed, Embase, Cochrane, Web of Science, Google Scholar, and Ovid databases was performed for articles from the dates of their inception to August 2020 using the following keywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV2, seminal, semen, and sperm. After excluding non-human studies and articles that were not in the English language, we identified 19 relevant studies. The full text of the articles were reviewed and a total of eight articles remained after applying our selection criteria. Results: After reviewing the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in the eight different studies using semen samples, only one reported the presence of the virus. Six out of 160 total semen samples with SARS-CoV-2 positive demonstrated the presence of viral RNA, of which 2 were from males in the recovery phase and 4 from the acute phase of the infection. Conclusion: The novel nature of SARS-CoV-2 has limited the number and size of studies on semen. Nevertheless, the current literature, while limited, has confirmed the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in semen in one out of the eight reported studies and totaling 4.3% of the population screened. Taken together, the risk of the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in semen appears to be extremely low and likely negligible in recovered men. Future studies need to focus on whether complete viral particles can be seen in semen and the possibility of sexual transmission.
- Semen parameters
ASJC Scopus subject areas