COVID-19 vaccinations safe for pregnancy and fertility
A study by Boston University School of Public Health researchers has found that COVID-19 vaccinations have no effect on fertility for men or women. The study by first-author Dr. Amelia Wesselink, senior author Dr. Lauren Wise, and a dozen other epidemiologists and clinicians found that there was no evidence of an association between receiving a COVID-19 vaccine and reduced pregnancy or fertility. The study did find that males who were infected with COVID-19 had a short period of reduced fertility following their illness.
Vaccination rates have been relatively high in the United States, with over 70% of adults receiving at least two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna mRNA vaccines as of the end of 2021. However, younger adults of reproductive age have exhibited lower vaccination rates, closer to 60%. Concern of possible side effects from vaccination, particularly regarding fertility, among reproductive-age adults is a leading reason for remaining unvaccinated among this group. This study provides solid evidence that men and women can safely take the vaccine without concern regarding pregnancy planning.
“These data provide reassuring evidence that COVID-19 vaccination in either partner does not affect fertility among couples trying to conceive,” said study senior author Dr. Lauren Wise, Professor of Epidemiology.
Conducting the COVID-19 vaccine’s effect on fertility study
The COVID-19 vaccine and fertility study was conducted using eligible subjects who identified as females aged 21-45 years, that had been trying to conceive without the use of fertility treatment. To better understand how the COVID-19 vaccine affected the pregnancy rates, participants were required to complete a baseline questionnaire that included sociodemographics, lifestyle, and reproductive and medical histories. Following this initial dialogue, additional sets of questions were presented every eight weeks for (up to) the next 12 months. Further, supplemental questionnaires were posed during pregnancy and postpartum.
From there, female participants in the study were given the option to invite their male partners to complete a baseline questionnaire to gain an understanding of that side of the equation. Eligible partners polled for the study were aged ≥21 years. The entire study hinged on self-reporting.
The study also addressed concerns about changes in menstrual cycles following vaccination, finding no evidence of changes.
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