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New studies provide reassurance about COVID vaccines and fertility

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New studies provide reassurance about COVID vaccines and fertility

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From the moment COVID vaccines became available, misinformation began to swirl about their potential effect on fertility.

But two new studies, including one of the most important on the subject to date, add to an ever-growing body of research showing that COVID-19 vaccines do not harm fertility – even if contracting COVID might.

Doctors hope the new research will reassure vaccine-hesitant patients who are trying to conceive or are expecting a baby. By early January, only about 40% of pregnant women had been vaccinated against COVID-19.

“There’s a lot of misinformation about vaccines and pregnancy,” Jane Frederick, a California-based reproductive endocrinologist, told HuffPost. “But we should encourage all of our pregnant patients and people considering fertility treatments to get vaccinated and to protect themselves.”

A great addition to COVID and fertility research

A large study published Tuesday in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology is one of the largest to date exploring outcomes in patients undergoing fertility treatments, which included more than 2,000 patients undergoing in vitro fertilization, or IVF. The researchers compared the results of patients who had received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines with those who had not been vaccinated.

They found no significant difference in these patients’ response to ovarian stimulation (when eggs are harvested), egg quality, embryo development, or overall pregnancy outcome.

“Our findings that vaccination had no impact on these outcomes should provide reassurance to those trying to conceive or in early pregnancy,” study author Devora Aharon said in a press release. Aharon is a reproductive endocrinology and infertility researcher at Icahn Mount Sinai and Reproductive Medicine Associates in New York.

His team’s study follows another research paper published last week that looked at data from 2,100 couples in Canada and the United States for a year and concluded that COVID vaccines do not impair fertility. in men or women.

For men, however, being infected with the coronavirus could.

This study found that men who tested positive for COVID within 60 days of their partner’s menstrual cycle were 18% less likely to conceive during that cycle, suggesting that COVID infection itself could harm sperm quality – at least in the short term.

“Any fever and active infection can temporarily decrease sperm count in men,” Lora Shahine, reproductive endocrinologist and funder of the Center for Recurrent Pregnancy Loss at Pacific NW Fertility, HuffPost told HuffPost. “WWe’ve seen this with measles, mumps, zika, and now COVID. »

Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns

The low vaccination rate among pregnant women in the United States has raised alarm bells with public health officials and suggests that vaccine hesitancy continues to be a problem in this population.

Experts say they hope new research will help allay concerns people may have as they try to conceive and encourage anyone with lingering questions to speak to their doctor.

“If all the information you get is on Facebook and Instagram, you’re not getting the best information. Talk to your fertility doctor, your GP, everyone in our fields is on the same page about your health,” Frederick said.

Reproduction experts hope more patients will come. Shahine said more and more of his patients are comfortable with the idea of ​​getting vaccinated as new research comes out.

“I see the vast majority of my fertility patients getting vaccinated and boosted as more reassuring data emerges,” she said.

If you or your partner have had a breakthrough infection, don’t panic

If you have been vaccinated and vaccinated and are still experiencing a breakthrough infection, take comfort. Although new research suggests that contracting COVID could impede short-term male fertility, getting vaccinated helps provide significant protection for you and your baby, and can reduce the likelihood of partners transmitting to each other. the virus.

And being vaccinated helps protect pregnant and infected people against serious illnesses. On the other hand, those who are not vaccinated are at a higher risk of serious illness, premature delivery and other pregnancy complications.

“We now know that vaccination is an important step in reducing risk during pregnancy,” Shahine said.

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