COVID Vaccines and Fertility: What the Research Says
Jun 29, 2021
Are you concerned the COVID-19 vaccine may affect your fertility? There’s no evidence that any vaccine, including the COVID vaccine, leads to infertility. In fact, during the clinical trials, roughly the same number of pregnancies happened in the vaccinated group as the unvaccinated group. Here’s what the research shows so far.
Where did this rumor come from?
Like with a lot of misinformation about vaccines, this rumor comes from a simple misunderstanding about the science and how vaccines work.
COVID vaccines work by teaching our bodies how to identify and fight off the spike protein on the outside of the coronavirus. Bodies make a similar-looking protein during pregnancy to form the placenta around the growing baby. In 2020, some people posted theories on social media that our bodies would get confused and inadvertently attack the placenta proteins, leading to infertility.
The theory sounded scientific and plausible – which is partly why it spread so quickly — but it isn’t true. The proteins may look similar, but not enough to confuse our body’s defenses.
This isn’t the first time rumors like these have been pushed online. Anti-vaccine activists have been saying the same things about other vaccines for years, even though research doesn’t support those claims either.
There’s no evidence COVID vaccines affect fertility.
All research so far shows that getting vaccinated against COVID will not lead to infertility. And there’s actually no biological reason to think that it would.
The antibodies your body creates after getting vaccinated work a lot like magnetic puzzle pieces. Even if other proteins look similar, our antibodies will only latch onto their target: In this case, the spike protein on the outside of the virus.
So it makes sense that studies so far haven’t found any link between COVID vaccines and infertility.
Have you read:
- Do COVID-19 Vaccines Cause Myocarditis?
- Does the COVID-19 Vaccine Shed?
- Does the COVID-19 Vaccine Cause Blood Clots?
All signs point to COVID vaccines being safe during pregnancy.
Tens of thousands of pregnant people have received COVID vaccines so far in the U.S. — enough for researchers to get some solid data on the safety of COVID vaccines during pregnancy. Pregnant people aren’t more likely to get side effects or have pregnancy-related complications.
Researchers will continue to look into it, but everything we’ve seen so far is really encouraging. There’s even some evidence that getting vaccinated during pregnancy could also lead you to pass on protective antibodies to your baby, similar to what happens with other vaccines.
Compare this to the known risk of COVID-19 infection during pregnancy. Research has shown that pregnant people who get COVID-19 are more likely to get seriously sick. There’s also an increased risk of preterm birth related to COVID-19 infection. Choosing not to get vaccinated is not a risk-free option.
Those who want babies in the future should still get vaccinated.
COVID vaccines can cause side effects (like a fever, sore arm or tiredness), but infertility isn’t one of them. Those who are hoping to get pregnant or have children in the future can — and should — get vaccinated.
For more info, check out:
- Vaccinate Your Family: Vaccines During Pregnancy
- Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: Do COVID-19 Vaccines Cause Infertility?
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