A new peer-reviewed article examined the effect of COVID-19 vaccines and SARS-CoV-2 on the fertility of men and women. Spoiler alert — the vaccine has no impact on fertility, but a COVID-19 infection lowers male fertility.
For some reason, one of the major tropes of the anti-vaccine world is trying to claim that vaccines have some effect on fertility. For example, I’ve written several articles debunking these claims about the HPV vaccine. I think they push these tropes about vaccines because it is an adverse effect that would strike at the heart of anyone thinking about the vaccine.
They have done the same thing with the COVID-19 vaccines — they want you to believe that they have some effect on fertility. But they’re wrong because we have even more powerful evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines do not have any effect on fertility.
COVID-19 vaccines effect on fertility — the paper
In a paper published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, Amelia Wesselink, Ph.D., of Boston University, and colleagues examined couples who were vaccinated against COVID-19 or had a previous COVID-19 infection. The prospective cohort study included 2,126 self-identified females (and their male partners) residing in the U.S. or Canada during December 2020-September 2021 and followed them through November 2021. Participants completed questionnaires every 8 weeks on sociodemographics, lifestyle, medical factors, and partner information.
Here’s what they found:
- Approximately 73% of females and 74% of males in the study were vaccinated.
- 37% of the females had a previous live birth.
- 7.2% of females and 7.8% of males had a previous COVID-19 infection.
- Both female and male partners who had at least one COVID-19 vaccine had the same chance of getting pregnant compared to unvaccinated patients, female fecundability ratio (FR) = 1.08 and male FR = 0.95. The fecundability ratio measures the ratio of fertility between two cohorts, in this case, vaccinated and unvaccinated.
- Female partners who had received a full vaccine regimen (defined as two doses of the mRNA vaccine or one dose of the JNJ vaccine) had an FR = 1.07.
- Male partners who had received the full vaccine regimine had an FR = 1.00.
- However, couples who had a male partner infected with COVID-19 within 60 days of the menstrual cycle had an 18% lower likelihood of achieving pregnancy. Although this was a small change, it was statistically significant.
- Females with previous COVID-19 infection was not associated with a lower likelihood of conception, FR =1.07.
The authors concluded:
In summary, we found no adverse association between COVID-19 vaccination and fertility and a short-term decrease in fertility after male partner SARS-CoV-2 infection. These results can be used to guide informed decision-making around COVID-19 vaccination among reproductiveaged individuals, particularly those who are trying to conceive now or in the future.
The researchers acknowledged that the study relied upon self-reports from participants to identify COVID-19 vaccine status, history of previous COVID-19 infection, and fecundability. Also, the study utilized a website for the self-reports, so this may have introduced inadvertent bias by excluding those who do not have access to the internet.
Once again, we have solid evidence that there is no link between COVID-19 vaccines and male or female fertility. Although this type of study has some weaknesses, it is of sufficient size to provide solid statistical soundness in determining differences in fertility between vaccinated and unvaccinated groups.
Furthermore, there seemed to be a small, but statistically significant reduction in male fertility after a SARS-CoV-2 infection. Again, another reason why the vaccine is so important.
Get the COVID-19 vaccines — they are safe and effective. And it has NO IMPACT on male or female fertility.
- Wesselink AK, Hatch EE, Rothman KJ, Wang TR, Willis MD, Yland J, Crowe HM, Geller RJ, Willis SK, Perkins RB, Regan AK, Levinson J, Mikkelsen EM, Wise LA. A prospective cohort study of COVID-19 vaccination, SARS-CoV-2 infection, and fertility. Am J Epidemiol. 2022 Jan 20:kwac011. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwac011. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35051292.