COVID-19 vaccination was not associated with impaired fertility in either males or females, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
To examine the association between COVID-19 vaccination and SARS-CoV-2 infection with fertility, Amelia K. Wesselink, PhD, of Boston University, and colleagues analyzed data from the Pregnancy Study Online (PRESTO), an internet-based prospective cohort study of US and Canadian couples trying to conceive without fertility treatment.
Female participants (N=2126) completed an online questionnaire at enrollment and every 2 months for 12 months, or until conception, whichever occurred first. Male partners aged 21 or older were also invited to complete a similar questionnaire.
Participants were asked to report on COVID-19 vaccination status and prior SARS-CoV-2 infection, in addition to income and education levels, lifestyle, and reproductive and medical histories. After adjusting for potential confounders (eg, number of vaccine doses, brand of vaccine, infertility history), results showed that there were no major differences in fecundability between unvaccinated and vaccinated couples (defined as at least 1 partner receiving at least 1 dose of COVID-19 vaccine).
While testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection was not strongly associated with fecundability in females, males who tested positive were observed to have a short-term decline in fertility (18% reduction for infection within 60 days; 8% reduction for infection greater than 60 days).
“The findings provide reassurance that vaccination for couples seeking pregnancy does not appear to impair fertility,” said Diana Bianchi, MD, director of NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, which funded the study. “They also provide information for physicians who counsel patients hoping to conceive.”
- COVID-19 vaccination does not reduce chances of conception, study suggests. News release. National Institutes of Health. Accessed January 20 2022. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/covid-19-vaccination-does-not-reduce-chances-conception-study-suggests
- Wesselink AK, Hatch EE, Rothman KJ, et al. A prospective cohort study of COVID-19 vaccination, SARS-CoV-2 infection, and fertility. American Journal of Epidemiology. Published online January 20, 2022. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwac011