COVID vaccine does not harm fertility in women: Doctors

TNIE spoke to experts to bust the myths around infertility due to the COVID vaccine.
For representational purposes
For representational purposes

TIRUCHY: 28-year-old Varsha (name changed), who is a frontline worker, has not taken the COVID vaccine so far. She is apprehensive after hearing rumours that the vaccine can impact fertility. Many women, in the 20s to 30s age bracket are apprehensive about taking the vaccine due to this worry.

TNIE spoke to experts to bust the myths around infertility due to the COVID vaccine.

There are no studies that the COVID vaccine can affect fertility in either men or women. Gynecologists are in agreement that the vaccine does not affect fertility in any way.

“No vaccine can cause infertility. There is absolutely no proof that the vaccine has such an effect. It is a total myth and women in this age group can take the vaccine,” said Dr Poovathy, Dean, Pudukkottai Government Medical College Hospital and Gynecologist.

Doctors said that reports from the British Fertility Centre and other associations have clearly stated that the vaccine does not cause any fertility issues.

“The vaccine does not have any impact on fertility. Many associations have published reports that it does not cause infertility. However, for people going in for IVF treatment, if they wish to, they can delay the treatment if they are taking the vaccine. This is simply because the vaccine can cause fever, and if a person gets pregnant, they may get scared.  There is no scientifically proven side effect on fertility. Everyone who can must take the vaccine,” said Dr Bhuvaneshwari, Director, Institute of Reproductive Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr Rela Hospital.

Doctors also say that people who are trying to get pregnant should delay conception for 6-8 weeks post vaccination.

“As of now, we are not vaccinating pregnant women, There is no need to panic if you find out you are pregnant after vaccination. It is unlikely to be harmful. As trials have not included pregnant women, there is no safety data,” said Dr Vijaylakshmi Balakrishnan, Senior Consultant Infectious Diseases, Kauvery Hospital.

“Those who can afford to delay conception by a month or so should do so. There is no study or evidence, but we feel it’s better to postpone it by a month. In early pregnancy, people tend to get scared. There is nothing to worry even if you get pregnant immediately after vaccination,” added Dr Bhuvaneshwari

However, pregnant women are not advised to take the vaccine currently.

“We don’t know the effects of the COVID vaccine on the foetus and mother. As there are no studies, we are not advising it currently.For very high risk pregnancies, depending on the condition of the mother, if the doctor advises, the vaccine can be taken,” said Dr Charmila Ayyavoo, Director of Aditi Hospital, Tiruchy.

In the UK, pregnant frontline workers, who are at high exposure to the virus have been advised to take the vaccine. They are being given the vaccine with informed consent.

“According to UK guidelines, healthcare workers are being given the vaccine. As we are not sure of the effects of the vaccine, we are not recommending it for pregnant women currently. There is no need to panic though if a person gets pregnant after getting a dose of the vaccine,” said Dr Deepa Mukhundhan, Secretary, Tiruchy Obstetric and Gynecologist Society.

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