With the use of COVID-19 (COVID) vaccines, we are slowly recovering from the COVID pandemic. There, however, remain a significant percentage of individuals that refuse to take the vaccine due to concerns about its impact on fertility. Most of these concerns are based on rumors.
A common concern centers around the perceived similarity between the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein targeted by the vaccine and the placental syncitin-1 protein. The fear is that the vaccine will mistakenly target this placental protein and potentially cause infertility. This theory has been refuted by immunology experts as this similarity is extremely limited and unlikely to cause cross-reactivity.
The research team examined IVF cycle characteristics and clinical outcomes in COVID-19–vaccinated and COVID-19–unvaccinated patients. They compared the outcomes in vaccinated and unvaccinated patients in stimulated IVF cycles as well as frozen embryo transfer cycles.
What were the results?
They studied 222 vaccinated patients and 983 unvaccinated patients who underwent stimulated IVF cycles. They also compared the outcomes in 214 vaccinated and 733 unvaccinated patients undergoing single euploid frozen embryo transfer cycles. (“Euploid” embryos have normal chromosomes.)
After controlling for factors known to affect IVF success, including age, body mass index (BMI), gravidity, parity, serum anti-Müllerian hormone level, and stimulation protocol, there was no difference in any important clinical outcomes when comparing vaccinated with unvaccinated patients.
The clinical outcomes evaluated included:
Oocyte (egg) number or maturation
Fertilization rates by intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) as well as the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine have strongly recommended that all individuals that are planning to get pregnant, are pregnant or are breast-feeding, should take the COVID vaccine.
At InVia Fertility Specialists, we do the same. Although we recommend our patients take the COVID vaccine, we do not mandate it and we will continue to provide the same high-quality care to our patients regardless of their vaccination status.
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Dr. Karande is Board Certified in the specialty of Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as the subspecialty of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. He is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.