Does the COVID vaccine affect fertility?

CLEVELAND (WJW) – For couples ready to have children, the COVID vaccine isn’t a barrier, says the National Institute of Health. 

“The safety of the COVID-19 vaccine once again has been established,” said Dr. Oluwatosin Goje, Associate Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Infectious Disease Specialist for women at the Cleveland Clinic.

The new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology tracked data from more than 2,000 couples trying to conceive in the U.S. and Canada for roughly a year, finding the COVID vaccine had no negative impact on male and female fertility.

“Really important that, you know, the two leading male fertility societies — the American Society of Reproductive Medicine and the SSMR — have come out with statements saying that the vaccine is safe and does not have a negative effect on male fertility,” said Dr. Neel Parekh, Clinical Assistant Professor of Urology at the Cleveland Clinic.

But researchers also found that for men, a COVID infection could potentially affect their fertility for up to 60 days. 

“This is something that we’ve had a pretty strong suspicion for the past couple of years that COVID-19 would likely negatively impact sperm parameters,” Parekh said.

Parekh says other studies have shown fever, whether it’s from COVID or another illness, can impact male fertility. 

“Whether it’s a hormone signaling imbalance or an issue with the testicle itself being able to produce sperm, we know that COVID can reduce sperm quality.”

The study did not find any impact on female fertility from COVID, but other research has shown the virus can have negative effects on pregnancy.

“We have established that there’s increased risk for the mother. Now we know there is increased stillbirth and studies have shown that also there was associated adverse pregnancy outcomes. Pre-eclampsia, pre-term birth, increased cesarean birth in some studies,” said Goje.

As doctors at the Cleveland Clinic fight misinformation around the COVID vaccine and fertility, they hope large-scale data like this will speak for itself. 

“For those who have not gotten vaccinated, this study should be one other push for them to go get their vaccine,” said Goje.

The CDC does recommend the vaccine for people who are pregnant, postpartum, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant or who might be in the future.

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