According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), reports claiming that COVID-19 vaccines or illness cause female sterility are unfounded. In a recent study published in ASRM’s Fertility & Sterility F&S Reports, Randy Morris, M.D. used frozen embryo transfer as a model for comparing the implantation rates between vaccinated, infection positive, and infection negative women. His study concluded that there was no difference found in the documented implantation rates or sustained implantation rates among the three groups. (Morris, R, Fertility and Sterility Rep, 2021)
This study is critical because vaccine hesitancy in reproductive-aged women is concerning and has resulted from the spread of misinformation on social media stating that COVID-19 vaccines will cause sterility in women. This study documented, for the first time, that the vaccine does not prevent embryo implantation or early pregnancy development. Physicians and other health professionals must advise women of reproductive age that neither previous COVID-19 illness nor antibodies produced from vaccination to COVID-19 will cause sterility.
“We hope that all reproductive-aged women will be more confident getting the COVID-19 vaccine, given Dr. Morris’s findings that the vaccine does not cause female sterility,” said Hugh Taylor, M.D., president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). “This, and other studies of this nature, further reinforce the ASRM COVID Task Force guidance that, no matter where you are in the family-building process, the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and saves lives.”
The Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines, do not contain live virus and therefore cannot give someone COVID-19. The mRNA does not enter the nucleus of the cell, but instead produces the spike protein of the COVID-19 virus in the cytoplasm, which is then inserted into the patient’s cells surface membrane and recognized as foreign by the immune system resulting in the generation of an antibody response. The Janssen Biotech (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine does use a live virus, but it is an adenovirus and not COVID-19. This modified version of the different virus (the vector) delivers important instructions to the patient cells, causing them to produce the spike protein which is again recognized as foreign by the immune system and generates an antibody response. Given the nature by which all of the vaccines work, there is no theoretical reason for the vaccine to affect fertility but studies like the one above are helpful to support this assertion.
In the current update, the ASRM Coronavirus/COVID-19 Task Force continues to support both vaccination with currently available vaccines for all individuals, including women who are either pregnant or contemplating conception as well as continued strict adherence to its earlier recommended mitigation strategies for disease prevention. This includes use of social distancing, and rigorous attention to hand washing, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), especially masking, and quarantines when appropriate.
If you are interested in speaking to one of our physicians, you can schedule an appointment by calling 843-883-5800 or click here.