There are still many unknowns and a lot of uncertainty about the COVID-19 virus, including any potential long-term effects on fertility. However, one piece of potentially good news in these uncertain times is that a recent study suggests that people who test positive for COVID-19 cannot transfer the virus through donated eggs.
Intended parents and people who want to donate eggs and sperm have, rightfully so, been concerned about the possibility that assisted reproduction technologies could inadvertently result in an asymptomatic donor passing the virus on through genetic material. There has been some potential concern that since the human reproductive tract expresses the ACE2 receptor gene, which has been identified as a way the COVID-19 virus infects cells, that donated genetic material could carry the virus as well.
A case study reported in Human Reproduction suggests that the SARS-CoV-2 virus cannot be transferred through frozen sperm or preserved eggs. Researchers came to this conclusion after testing preserved eggs from two women who were confirmed to be COVID positive during the egg donation process. The study looked for viral RNA in 16 eggs the two women donated and found no detectable trace of the virus.
Of course, this study sample size was small, so it is still possible that transmission is possible – although it did not occur in the case of the eggs these women donated while carrying and presumably shedding the virus. Still, intended parents who plan to use donated eggs or sperm in the assisted reproduction process can take some comfort in the study’s outcome.
With each day that goes by, scientists and medical professionals learn more about the COVID-19 virus and how it affects the human body. At The Surrogacy Law Center, we will continue to watch for news updates related to how, or whether, the virus could affect people who want to conceive via surrogacy, and we will share that information with readers as it becomes available. To learn more about the services we offer, contact us today!