COVID-19 vaccines are said to boost your immunity and protect you against the potentially deadly lung infection but is there any downside to them? Vaccine deniers have had many concerns amongst which is the possibility of COVID vaccines to harm your fertility or IVF outcomes.
Analyzing the data available so far, researchers have not found any incidence of reduced fertility in individuals who took the shots of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
Since this study was conducted by New York doctors, they were only able to study the effect of the two main vaccines available in the US. We do not have much information on the effect of Covaxin, Covishield, Novavax, Sinovac, and other vaccines on fertility but even a few being safe should ease the anxiety of patients who have already been anguished due to COVID related IVF delays.
Reassuring for the patients
Dr. Alan Copperman, director of infertility and reproductive endocrinology at the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City, and his colleagues analyzed the data to compare the fertilization, pregnancy and early miscarriage rates in IVF patients, who had received two jabs of the COVID vaccines and those who were still unvaccinated.
“This is one of the largest studies to review fertility and IVF cycle outcomes in patients who received COVID-19 vaccinations. The study found no significant differences in response to ovarian stimulation, egg quality, embryo development, or pregnancy outcomes between the vaccinated compared to unvaccinated patients.” said Dr. Devora Aharon, MD, study author and fellow in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Icahn Mount Sinai.
Dr. Aharon also said that the pandemic caused stress and anxiety caused to desiring parents regarding their fertility and pregnancy potential. This data will benefit them and allow them to make informed decisions about their fertility choices.
“Our findings that vaccination had no impact on these outcomes should be reassuring to those who are trying to conceive or are in early pregnancy,” she said.
Vaccines do not affect IVF outcomes & other findings
Infertility patients were worried about losing precious time as many fertility clinics had to remain shut during the raging COVID pandemic.
Among the patients at this NY fertility center, who underwent controlled ovarian hyperstimulation for induction of ovulation in IVF, the fertilization rates among the vaccinated were 80.7%, which were very comparable to the unvaccinated at 78.7%.
Frozen embryo transfer also resulted in similar pregnancy rates among the vaccinated (59.5%) and the unvaccinated (63.7%).
The number of eggs retrieved, fertilization, biochemical pregnancy, clinical pregnancy loss, etc. was all comparable in the two groups, assuring the researchers that COVID vaccines do not affect IVF outcomes.
Epidemiologists have been disputing the suggestions that mRNA vaccines for COVID may adversely affect your fertility, Aharon said, a study such as this one would help alleviate concerns.
It has to be noted here that the study involved only a small number of patients from one clinic, RMA of New York, who underwent COH for IVF between February and September 2021. 222 of the patients in this study were vaccinated and 983 were unvaccinated.
COVID 19 disease causes a significant threat of severe illness and death to pregnant women and earlier studies had found that the vaccines are highly useful in protecting them, as well as their babies. The antibodies are conferred to the fetus and there was no record of any fetal growth problems.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also advises that women who are trying to get pregnant now or planning it in the future should get COVID vaccines to protect themselves, and that the vaccines do not cause any adverse effect on their fertility potential.
Based on this study, you can rest your concerns about COVID Vaccines harming your fertility or IVF potential and proceed confidently towards any treatment you need.
Aharon, Devora MD; Lederman, Matthew MD; Ghofranian, Atoosa MD; Hernandez-Nieto, Carlos MD; Canon, Chelsea MD; Hanley, William BA; Gounko, Dmitry MA; Lee, Joseph A. BA; Stein, Daniel MD; Buyuk, Erkan MD; Copperman, Alan B. MD In Vitro Fertilization and Early Pregnancy Outcomes After Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccination, Obstetrics & Gynecology: January 25, 2022 doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000004713
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID-19 Vaccines for People Who Would Like to Have a Baby: January 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/planning-for-pregnancy.html