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Largest Study to Show COVID-19 Vaccine Doesn’t Impact Fertility

“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.”
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profile picture of Nehal Aggarwal
Published
January 26, 2022
close up of doctor hands with blue gloves holding covid vaccine vial and needle
Image: Getty Images

The onset of the pandemic may have been almost two years ago, but experts are continuing to learn as much as they can about the novel coronavirus and how we can best protect against it. Since the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine in December 2020, experts have maintained it offers the best form of protection. To help allay some fears around how the vaccine may affect fertility, in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and early pregnancy, researchers have published one of the largest studies to date on the topic.

The study was published in Obstetrics & Gynecology and adds to the growing body of evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine does not affect fertility. Researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York compared rates of fertilization, pregnancy, and early miscarriage in IVF patients who had received two doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines against those of nonvaccinated patients.

The study involved patients undergoing IVF, including both people that had embryos fertilized in a lab and placed into the womb and people who underwent treatment to stimulate the development of eggs. Of the patients who had an embryo transferred, 214 were vaccinated and 733 unvaccinated. These patients were found to have similar rates of pregnancy and early pregnancy loss. For the group who underwent ovarian stimulation, 222 were vaccinated and 983 were unvaccinated. These patients were also found to have similar rates of eggs retrieved, fertilization, and embryos with normal numbers of chromosomes, among several other measures.

“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,” Devora A. Aharon, MD, first author of the study and a fellow in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Icahn Mount Sinai and RMA of New York, said in a press release. “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.”

The authors hope the findings from the study help ease some of the anxiety many considering pregnancy have been feeling around getting the vaccine. “By leveraging science and big data, we can help reassure patients of reproductive age and enable them to make the best decisions for themselves. It will give people comfort to know that the COVID-19 vaccine does not affect their reproductive potential,” senior author Alan B. Copperman, MD, FACOG, division director and clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science at Icahn Mount Sinai and director of RMA of New York, also said.

Previous research has shown the vaccine is safe and can even pass protective antibodies to baby. Plus, it can help protect pregnant people, who have been found to be at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. While the new research is promising, the topic of fertility can be a sensitive one. For your specific circumstances and for answers to any questions, always speak to your healthcare provider to make an informed decision that is right for you.

Plus, more from The Bump:

What All Moms-to-Be Should Know About COVID in Pregnancy

Vaccines You Should (and Shouldn’t) Get During Pregnancy

COVID-19 Resources for Pregnancy and Parenting

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