- A new NIH-funded study further shows that vaccination does not affect fertility.
- Neither male nor female participants experienced significant changes in fertility following vaccination.
- The COVID-19 vaccine can actually help prevent maternal and child health risks.
When a COVID-19 vaccine first became available in the U.S. in December 2020, it wasn’t long before misinformation started spreading on social media. Concerns that vaccines could cause infertility have spread widely on the Internet.
Now, a new study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is dispelling that myth. In their new study, epidemiologists at the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) show that being vaccinated against COVID-19 does not make pregnancy and childbirth any more difficult.The study was published in American Journal of Epidemiology.
“When the COVID vaccine first came out, we started to hear concerns that the vaccine would affect fertility,” Dr. Amelia Wesselink, Principal Investigator and Research Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at BUSPH, told VigorTip. “There is no biological reason to expect a vaccine to affect fertility. , but people obviously want data on timing of pregnancy after vaccination, and we can look at that using data from PRESTO, our online study of couples trying to conceive.”
No, the COVID vaccine will not cause infertility in children
Vaccination did not lead to changes in fertility
The research team studied more than 2,000 people between the ages of 21 and 45. Study participants were identified as females residing in the United States or Canada between December 2020 and September 2021.
Participants completed a questionnaire on:
- education level
- reproductive and medical history
- whether they have been vaccinated against COVID-19
- if their partner ever tested positive for the virus
Their male partners aged 21 or older were also invited to complete a similar questionnaire. Female subjects completed follow-up questionnaires every eight weeks until they became pregnant, and up to 12 months if not pregnant.
Vaccination rates were similar between male and female participants: 73% of women received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine during the study period, and 74% of men received at least one dose of the vaccine.
The researchers found no difference in the chances of conception between male or female partners who were vaccinated compared to unvaccinated couples.
Study: COVID infection does not affect fertility or IVF treatment
Among the couples studied, women who had received at least one dose of the vaccine prior to a given menstrual cycle had a slightly higher pregnancy rate (8 percent) compared with unvaccinated participants. Women who were fully vaccinated — two doses of Pfizer or Modena, or one dose of J&J — also showed a slight increase in conception rates (7 percent).
However, there was little change in male participants. Men who received at least one dose had a slight increase (5%) in conception rates. Fully vaccinated men can conceive with the same accuracy as unvaccinated men.
Based on these results, vaccination status did not have a statistically significant effect on couples or individuals’ chances of conceiving, the researchers said.
“In our study of more than 2,100 couples trying to conceive without fertility treatment, we found that the timing of pregnancy was very similar for vaccinated and unvaccinated couples,” Wesselink said. “We hope these data provide reassurance that the vaccine does not affect the chances of fertility and that preconceptions are a good time to get the vaccine.”
Other research supports these findings.Research published in journals American Medical Association (JAMA) and in F&S report Shows that vaccination does not affect fertility treatment outcomes in men or women.
The study also found that overall testing positive for COVID-19 infection was not associated with differences in conception. However, couples had a slightly lower chance of conceiving if their male partner contracted COVID-19 within the first 60 days of their menstrual cycle — suggesting that COVID-19 may temporarily reduce male fertility. There is no effect if the male partner was infected at least 60 days ago.
Previous research has also found that men with COVID-19 are more likely to experience erectile dysfunction than uninfected men.
what does this mean to you
Multiple studies now show that being vaccinated against COVID-19 does not make pregnancy any more difficult. If you haven’t been vaccinated, you can find an appointment near you here.
unlikely to have long-term effects
The researchers did not provide conclusions on the long-term effects of vaccination on fertility, but they claimed that vaccination was unlikely to have adverse effects on fertility months after vaccination.
“Based on what we know about biology and how the immune system works, there’s no reason to suspect that any effect of the vaccine — positive or negative — will emerge in a few months,” Wesselink said.
But she added that her research team is working to analyze the data to address questions and concerns about the potential link between vaccines and miscarriages or birth defects.
Study: Men with COVID-19 are 5 times more likely to have erectile dysfunction
“Meanwhile, there are several other studies showing no increased risk of miscarriage after vaccination,” Wesselink added. An NIH study found no increased risk of miscarriage as early as September 2021.
Researchers are also studying how vaccination affects menstrual function and how COVID-19 itself affects pregnancy health.
“We hope this data provides reassurance that the COVID vaccine does not affect the chances of having a child and that preconceptions are a good time to get vaccinated,” Wesselink said.
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