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Busting the myths about COVID vaccination’s impact on fertility treatment

Published on:1 June 2021, 12:07pm IST
There are a lot of rumours circulating on the adverse impact of COVID vaccines on fertility treatments and overall reproductive health. Dr. Nidhi Jha busts these myths and provides much needed clarity.
Dr Nidhi Jha
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reproductive health
Age can play a big role in determining fertility. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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With the second wave hitting India with full force and wreaking havoc on the healthcare sector, the value of a vaccine has never been more pertinent. Currently, India has 3.41 crore citizens fully vaccinated (2.5% of our whole population), hence we need more people to get vaccinated as soon as possible. 

While we deal with the pandemic, perhaps some attention also needs to be paid towards our own health, especially reproductive health. A woman’s reproductive health is affected by her age, weight, diet, lifestyle and mental wellbeing. And, as we continue the vaccination program, there seems to be a little hesitancy regarding the influence of vaccines on women’s reproductive health.

What women need to know?

Our health is one of our top priorities. For women who are not pregnant, they can get their vaccines anytime, even during their menstrual cycle. The 2nd shot should be taken after an interval of 4-6 weeks in case of COVAXiN, and 12 weeks in case of CoVIShield from the first one. 

There are a lot of rumours and myths circulating on social media about vaccines causing infertility. The issue has sprouted up because pregnant/lactating women were not included in the later trials of the vaccine, and hence, there is a bit of a void of information concerning safety and efficacy. 

The fear comes from the hypothesis that the vaccine contains an amino acid sequence that matches a protein sequence called ‘Syncitin-1’ which impacts fertility. This protein sequence is important in the formation of syncytiotrophoblast of the human placenta, which is essential for placentation, which is the process to provide oxygen and nutrients to the fetus and to move harmful waste and nutrients away.

Information on the vaccine

The Federation of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Society of India (FOSSI) has recently announced that Indian COVID vaccines should be given to expectant mothers and breastfeeding women with preparations to manage adverse events. The Government of India has given clearance to lactating mothers for COVID vaccination, However approval for vaccinating pregnant ladies is still due.

FOGSI has also mentioned India has very limited data available on the use of COVID vaccines in pregnancy.

reproductive health
The expert revealed COVID vaccine does not cause issues with fertility treatment. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Should one get the vaccine if they are undergoing fertility treatment?

The COVID vaccine does not cause issues with fertility treatment, pregnancy or having a baby. It is safe and effective to take the COVID vaccine if you are a patient taking fertility treatment. You can take the vaccine in any kind of fertility treatment, whether it be ovulation induction, IUI or IVF.

Currently, there is no research to suggest that COVID vaccine cannot be taken by fertility treatment patients. If you have gotten a schedule for your vaccination and are presently undergoing or thinking of undergoing fertility treatment, please do not avoid the vaccine, as it protects you. Moreover, you should discuss with your gynaecologist or infertility specialist and take the vaccination as advised.

Should women be concerned?

No, there is no cause of concern or panic. We require a long term study on COVID, and as time goes by, we will have more data to work with. So, while on one hand, it is important to be vigilant about one’s re[roductive health, getting a vaccine as advised by a medical practitioner is also critical to ensure wellbeing. 

So ladies, you may put these false alarms and rumors to rest as currently there is no evidence suggesting adverse impact of COVID vaccine on fertility and fertility treatments.

Dr Nidhi Jha Dr Nidhi Jha

Dr Nidhi Jha, Fertility Consultant, Southend Nova IVF Fertility, Delhi