The messaging behind the COVID-19 vaccine and fertility has been ever-changing, as new data and studies emerge. We’ve rounded up the latest information from medical professionals and reports.
More risk from COVID-19 than the vaccine
Fertility expert Dr. Marjorie Dixon told CTV News there is no evidence that points to COVID-19 vaccines affecting fertility in men or women.
“If you are planning a pregnancy, if you are pregnant, if I were pregnant, I would be getting the vaccine,” she says. “If you are a woman and you’re pregnant, you're at greater risk of having severe exacerbations, and admission, intubation, and potentially death from coronavirus.”
A study in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics looked at 2,130 pregnant women in 18 countries. It found pregnant women with COVID-19 had higher rates of adverse outcomes, like maternal mortality, preeclampsia, and preterm birth, compared with pregnant individuals without a COVID-19 diagnosis.
False information debunked
An article published in the international research journal BMJ explains how misinformation being spread online is leading to confusion. Recent guidelines from the Reproductive and Clinical Scientists and the British Fertility Society refute the link between infertility and the vaccine, according to the article.
It states that the vaccine can be taken by those undergoing fertility treatments, such as IVF, frozen embryo transfer, egg freezing, ovulation induction, intrauterine insemination (when sperm is placed directly in a uterus) or using donated gametes.
However, the guidelines do recommend “separating the date of vaccination by a few days from some treatment procedures (for example, egg collection in IVF), so that any symptoms, such as fever, might be attributed correctly to the vaccine or the treatment procedure.”
In response to a question about the vaccine affecting fertility, Dr. Jerome Leis from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre says there is “no scientific reason” that the vaccine would impact fertility.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, 23 female volunteers involved in the Pfizer vaccine testing became pregnant. During the trial, only one woman lost her pregnancy, but she had received a placebo (not the vaccine).
More studies needed
“It is true though that we don’t have research related to the use of the vaccine in women who are trying to conceive or (get) pregnant because they were not studied in clinical trials,” says Dr. Leis. “It’s always wise to have a conversation with your health care provider to help you decide what is right for you.”
Stay informed by checking trusted resources, like Health Canada, the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is clear that more studies are needed, however, the current consensus in the medical field is that the vaccine does have benefits for those trying to become pregnant. The information is quickly changing and new studies will illuminate many of the unknowns.
As always, we recommend speaking with your medical doctor to find out what's best for you.