COVID-19 Vaccine and Fertility
There are several questions around the vaccine and fertility. Does the COVID-19 vaccine cause infertility? Where do health officials stand?
Myth: The vaccine can cause infertility.
The claim circulating on social media that the COVID-19 vaccine causes female infertility is FALSE and is not supported by any research. Following guidelines from the FDA, no one is excluded from receiving the vaccine, even patients who are pregnant or breastfeeding, as there are no medical contraindications to receiving this vaccine. Pregnant patients should discuss with their physician individual risk factors to make an informed decision about possible vaccinations. Current data from COVID-19 vaccine trials supports the safety and efficacy of these vaccines, and the benefits of vaccination greatly outweigh the risks of not being immunized. The Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine has issued advice for those pregnant or breastfeeding.
There have been some rumors that the spike protein the body creates after vaccination to fight off COVID-19 is like a protein in the placenta of pregnant mothers. But doctors say the two are not similar enough for the spike protein to launch an immune response to the placenta that would endanger the mother’s ability to carry a baby to term.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there’s no evidence that the authorized COVID-19 vaccines could have impacts on pregnancy, but there’s limited data.
Right now, health officials say the risks of the virus may be greater than the risks of the vaccine, especially for pregnant women. According to the CDC, data has shown that pregnant women with COVID-19 have an increased risk of severe illness compared to women who are not pregnant. The CDC recommends pregnant women consult their healthcare providers before getting vaccinated if they have concerns.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Position
Infertility is not known to occur as a result of natural COVID-19 disease, further demonstrating that immune responses to the virus, whether induced by infection or a vaccine are not a cause of infertility.
American Society for Reproductive Medicine position
The Task Force does not recommend withholding the vaccine from patients who are planning to conceive, who are currently pregnant, or who are breastfeeding and encourages patients undergoing fertility treatment to receive vaccination based on current eligibility criteria.
In addition, the statement addresses head-on a piece of misinformation which has been circulated by antivaccine ideologues and states that the mRNA vaccines “are not thought to cause an increased risk of infertility, first or second trimester loss, stillbirth, or congenital anomalies.”
Did pregnancies occur in the United States clinical trials of the Pfizer vaccine?
Yes, in the Pfizer trial, which included more than 37,000 people, women were given pregnancy tests before they were accepted to the study. They were excluded if they were already pregnant. During the trial, 23 women conceived, likely by accident. Twelve of these pregnancies happened in the vaccine group, and 11 in the placebo group. They continued to be followed as part of the study.