What You Need To Know
In a study supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development , researchers analyzed data from more than 2,000 couples who were trying to conceive. They found that couples in which one or both partners had been vaccinated were no less likely than other couples to conceive. Only one factor was linked to lower fertility: recent infection with COVID-19.
Getting Pregnant After The Covid Vaccine
Shortly after the COVID-19 vaccine was introduced, rumors circulated on social media that it could cause infertility in women. This rumor has been proven false. Numerous studies and research groups have concluded that the vaccine doesnt cause infertility in women or affect your chances of becoming pregnant.
The idea that the vaccine affects fertility is based on the false assumption that it can cause your body to attack syncytin-1. This protein is found in the placenta and includes a small piece of genetic code thats also found in the spike protein of the coronavirus. However, doctors and scientists alike agree that such an attack isnt possible. The vaccine cant affect or interact with your reproductive organs in any way.
Studies reported to the FDA checked the effects of the vaccine on getting pregnant after being vaccinated. One group was made up of people given the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. The other was a control group given a placebo instead of vaccine. In both groups, the same percentage of women got pregnant, showing no effect of the vaccine on fertility. In fact, the few women with complications in their pregnancies were all in the control group that did not receive the actual vaccine.
Where Does The Misinformation Stem From
The myth, which has been circulating on social media, originally came from a letter sent to the European Medicines Agency, according to Paul Offit, MD, a Food and Drug Administration vaccine adviser.
The pediatrician and head of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia said in a video that the letter contained an unfounded claim that there was a similarity between the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and syncytin-1 a protein that sits on the surface of placental cells.
So the thinking was, if you’re making an antibody response to that spike protein of coronavirus, you’re also inadvertently making an antibody response to this syncytin-1 protein on the surface of placental cells, which would then affect fertility, Offit said in the video. First of all, that wasn’t true. Those two proteins are very different. It’s like saying you and I both have the same social security number because they both contain the number five. So that was wrong, to begin with.
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Why Covid Vaccines Are Falsely Linked To Infertility
Jan. 12, 2021 — Theres no evidence that the new vaccines against COVID-19 cause infertility, yet thats a worry thats been cited by some health care workers as a reason theyre reluctant to be first in line to get the shots.
Across the country, significant numbers of health care workers have balked at getting the new vaccines.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said in a recent briefing that 60% of Ohios nursing home staffers had declined their shots. In Georgia, an infection prevention nurse who coordinates COVID vaccines for the 30,000 employees in her health system said that so far, fewer than 33% had gotten the shot. The rest had decided to wait and see. The nurse disclosed the numbers on the condition that we not reveal what hospital she worked for, as she was not authorized to speak to reporters.
None of this has surprised Jill Foster, MD, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis who has been studying vaccine hesitancy.
With COVID, it was the perfect storm. With COVID, there was already a bunch of people out there saying theres no such thing as COVID, its no worse than the flu, she says. Many of those people gained substantial followings for themselves on social media. When the vaccines came along, they used those platforms to stir up conspiracy theories.
Where did this infertility myth come from?
A spokesperson for Amazon Studios says the series is pure fiction.
Vaccination Is Recommended Before And During Pregnancy
Women who are trying to become pregnant need not to delay the vaccination nor avoid becoming pregnant. COVID-19 is a potentially very serious disease. Pregnant women and their unborn babies are greater risk of needing hospital care than women who are not pregnant
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Does The Vaccine Affect The Hormones
Reports of menstrual cycle changes after getting vaccinated have also fueled concerns about future infertility. Changes in the menstrual cycle generally indicate hormone fluctuations, so it is understandable to wonder about how fertility might be affected.
Hormones play a role in when menarche occurs as well as how children grow and develop. Infertility is often linked to hormonal imbalance. Hearing the stories of people who experienced menstrual cycle changes after getting vaccinated may be concerning if you are deciding whether to immunize your children.
A research study found that about a fifth of women experienced menstrual cycle changesheavier bleeding, lighter bleeding, or a longer duration of bleedingafter getting vaccinated. That being said, the changes were considered insignificant and lasted over the short term only. Short-term hormonal shifts that resolve themselves would not be a concern for future fertility.
The study also tested blood samples for sex hormones, finding no significant difference between those who had been vaccinated for COVID-19 and those who had not.
It could also be that the stress from the pandemic itself is affecting menstrual cycles, rather than the vaccine.”Personally, my period has been off since schools shut down back last March,” says Jennifer Ellis, a mom of a newly-turned 5-year-old daughter who just got her first shot. “I think it’ll finally settle down once Vera is fully vaccinated. I can’t wait for her to get her second shot!”
Kids Should Get Vaccinated Against Covid
Children are less likely to contract COVID-19 than adults, and their illness is typically less severe when they do become infected. However, kids can still become seriously ill and require hospitalization in some cases. Kids can also spread COVID-19 to other, more vulnerable family and community members. “I don’t see why anyone would want to leave the risk there by not vaccinating,” says Ellis. “I would rather take all possible precautions, definitely including vaccination.”
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What Does Being Male Have To Do With Covid
For SARS-CoV-2 to gain entry into a human body and begin to replicate, it needs to bind to something called an ACE2 receptor, a protein found on the surface of cells in the mouth, lungs, heart and other areas throughout the body. Among all the tissues in the body, the male testis shows nearly the highest level of ACE2 mRNA expression, causing researchers to worry that it could be a target for viral invasion and damage.
Additionally, researchers paid close attention to male fertility because the highly similar SARS-CoV-1 virus, which caused the SARS outbreak of 2003-2004, targeted the same ACE2 receptor and had deleterious effects on male sexual organs.
“A number of human viruses, including Ebola, Zika, herpes simplex, Epstein-Barr, human papilloma, HIV and mumps, have been known to cause temporary or permanent fertility issues, transmission during sex and orchitis, a painful inflammation or swelling of the testes,” Houston Methodist urologist Dr. Nathan Starke explains.
Myth: Antibodies From A Covid Infection Protect You Just As Well As The Vaccine Can From Future Infections
FACT: Evidence shows getting a Covid vaccine is the best way to prevent future infection, regardless of having a previous infection.
While having recovered from a previous Covid infection confers some antibody protection, shows that if you had Covid before and are not now vaccinated, your risk of getting a new Covid infection is more than two times higher than for those who were previously infected and then got vaccinated. That’s a pretty serious risk to take on.
Experts don’t know how long the immunity conferred from a previous infection will lastand it may vary from person to person. To reduce your risk of getting reinfected, vaccination is your safest bet.
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Where Did This Rumor Come From
In December 2020, a German scientist teamed up with a former Pfizer employee to share a hypothesis about the COVID-19 vaccine and infertility. It caught traction among vaccine skeptics and has persisted even though it has since been disproved by researchers.
The myth is based on an assumption that the vaccine could cause your body to attack syncytin-1, a protein in your placenta that shares a small piece of genetic code with the spike protein of the coronavirus.
Even though this misinformation was proved incorrect, the rumor still took on a life of its own, as it was shared and reshared throughout the internet.
Research Studies In People Trying To Become Pregnant
- There is currently no evidence that vaccine ingredients or antibodies made following COVID-19 vaccination would cause any problems with becoming pregnant now or in the future.
- A recent studyexternal icon found no differences in pregnancy success rates among women who had antibodies from COVID-19 vaccines or from a recent COVID-19 infection, and women who had no antibodies.
- Like with all vaccines, scientists are studying COVID-19 vaccines carefully for side effects and will report findings as they become available.
Learn how COVID-19 vaccines work.
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What Are The Concerns About The Covid
Rumors about a connection between the COVID-19 vaccine and fertility began at the end of 2020 when a screenshot claiming that the head of Pfizer research said that the vaccine meant sterilization for women circulated on social media.
“Because topics related to reproductive health are incredibly emotional, false anti-vaccination claims have spread across the internet, and have deterred some of the most vulnerable populations from receiving the only effective tool in preventing the risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19,” notes Dr. Levine.
Before Pregnancy And For Fertility
Research studies have found that COVID-19 vaccines:
- Do not cause any fertility problems in men or women.
- Do not cause any problems with becoming pregnant.
Data from v-safe and data directly from eight U.S. health care systems show that COVID-19 vaccines do not prevent people from becoming pregnant. This was also confirmed by an in vitro fertilization study, which showed people who had been vaccinated against COVID-19 were just as likely to get pregnant as people who had not been vaccinated or recently had COVID-19.
A study comparing sperm before and after vaccination with an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine found that vaccination did not affect how much sperm men had or how it moved. Currently, evidence shows that vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, do not cause male fertility problems.
Reports claiming that COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility are unfounded. Learn a little more about the science below.
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Effects On Male Fertility
Testing and trials have also looked at whether or not the COVID-19 vaccine affects male fertility. One study, conducted by the National Institutes of Health, included more than 2,000 couples. In this study, researchers found that there were no differences in the chances of becoming pregnant if either the male or female partner had been vaccinated when compared to couples where both partners were unvaccinated. So, it can safely be assumed that the COVID-19 vaccine doesnt lower male fertility in the same way that it doesnt lower female fertility.
What does have an effect on male fertility is the COVID-19 virus itself. The same study by the National Institutes of Health showed that couples had a lower chance of getting pregnant if the male partner had been infected with the COVID-19 virus within 60 days of trying to conceive. This suggests that the virus can temporarily affect the male partners fertility.
Fever is a common symptom of the COVID-19 virus and is known to reduce sperm count and motility. Another factor is that men who recently tested positive for the virus could have inflammation in their testes and the surrounding tissues, along with erectile dysfunction. For these reasons, men who are worried about their fertility should consider getting vaccinated to prevent contracting the virus or to help avoid serious symptoms.
And What About The Fertility Effects Of The Vaccines
A recent study at the University of Miami analyzed semen samples from healthy male participants before their first dose of vaccine and 70 days after their second dose. The results confirmed that there were no significant decreases in any sperm parameters.
“There is no evidence that fertility is affected by any of the COVID vaccines,” says Dr. Starke.
For those wondering if fertility effects will arise dozens of years after receiving a vaccine, consider this fact offered up by Dr. Wesley Long, assistant professor of Clinical Pathology and Genomic Medicine.
“In the entire history of vaccines, there’s never been a side effect that occurred more than two months after a vaccine was administered,” Dr. Long says. “People are worried that some unknown side effect will occur 10 to 15 years down the line, but the truth is, that’s never happened.”
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People Who Would Like To Have A Baby
COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for people who are trying to get pregnant now or might become pregnant in the future , as well as their partners.
Johnson & Johnsons Janssen COVID-19 vaccine: Women younger than 50 years old should especially be aware of the rare risk of blood clots with low platelets after vaccination. There are other COVID-19 vaccines available for which this risk has not been seen. If you received a J& J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, here is what you need to know. Read the CDC/FDA statement.
Prevent The Spread Of Covid
After you are fully vaccinated, you may be able to participate in many of the activities that you did before the pandemic. Learn more about what you can do when you have been fully vaccinated.
If you have a condition or are taking medications that weaken your immune system, you may NOT be fully protected even if you are fully vaccinated. Even after vaccination, you may need to continue taking all precautions. CDC recommends that people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems receive an additional primary dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after a second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your healthcare provider about whether getting an additional primary dose is appropriate for you.
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Monitoring Data Shows Vaccines Cause Miscarriages
Some posts have highlighted miscarriages reported to vaccine-monitoring schemes, including the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency Yellow Card scheme in the UK and the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System in the US.
Anyone can report symptoms or health conditions they experience after being vaccinated. Not everyone will choose to report, so this is a self-selecting database.
There were indeed miscarriages reported in these databases – they are unfortunately common events – but this does not mean the jab caused them.
They are not so good at monitoring side-effects that are common in the population – such as changes to periods, miscarriages and heart problems. Seeing them in the data doesn’t necessarily raise these red flags because you’d expect to see them anyway, vaccine or not.
It’s only if we start getting many more miscarriages than are seen in unvaccinated people that this data would prompt an investigation – and that’s not been the case so far.
Some people have also shared graphs showing a big rise in the overall number of people reporting their experiences to these schemes compared with previous years, for other vaccines and drugs.
Why It Is Important For Pregnant Individuals To Get Vaccinated
Data strongly indicate that the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine far outweigh risks for individuals who are pregnant or might become pregnant in the future.
The CDC recently released data showing the highest number of COVID-19-related deaths in pregnant people in a single month was in August 2021. Data also indicate that 97% of pregnant people hospitalized, either for illness or labor and delivery, with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection were unvaccinated.
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Covid And Female Fertility
New evidence from a study by Ting Ding and colleagues in Wuhan, China, suggests that COVID-19 may interfere with female reproductive functions, causing irregularities in the menstrual cycle in addition to fertility problems. In some cases, this coronavirus decreases markers of fertility by attacking the ovaries and disrupting sex hormone levels.
Lets go over exactly how this happens. ACE2 is a cell receptor that COVID-19 uses to enter the body. There are lots of ACE2 located on the ovaries, uterus, and vagina to regulate ovulation, change endometrial tissue, and influence embryo development. So COVID may interfere with female fertility by harming ovarian tissue, reducing egg quality , and damaging cells that are important for reproduction.
The study by Ting Ding, published in Frontiers in Medicine, observed 78 female patients who had COVID. They found that the virus disrupts female sex hormone levels and negatively impacts ovarian reserves and endocrine function via ACE2. This problem may be even worse for people diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome , as PCOS already causes issues with hormone levels and fertility.
But again, researchers have only just begun looking into this, and more evidence is needed to determine the impact of COVID on female fertility and ovary function over time.