Family Planning and the Covid vaccine – here’s what you need to know

A number of women and men of reproductive age are hesitant to receive the Covid-19 vaccine due to fears that it will affect their fertility. Worries like these often stem from misinformation spread on social media, particularly amongst sceptics. But there is no evidence to suggest the rumours are true.

In a recent video published by NHS Scotland, Jaki Lambert, Professional Advisor in Midwifery & Perinatal Care at the Scottish Government, explains, “The Covid-19 vaccine does not affect fertility in women or men, and you don’t need to avoid getting pregnant after it.”

So what do we know about Covid vaccinations and fertility?

Over 6 billion doses of Covid vaccinations have now been administered around the world, including in pregnant women. Yet no fertility-related safety concerns have been detected. Instead, studies show that there is no difference in the ovarian follicle (egg) quality of vaccinated women compared with unvaccinated women and the vaccine has no effect on patients’ performance or ovarian reserve during IVF treatment following the jab.

Studies found similar results in relation to male fertility. They report no changes in the sperm volume, concentration, mobility or sperm count of men after having received a vaccine dose.

What about fertility in the future?

Some sceptics claim it is too early to know what effect the Covid vaccines will have on human fertility in the future. However, because the vaccines work in such a way that they do not alter our DNA and do not remain in our bodies long term – teaching our immune systems how to recognise and fight the virus before being broken down in our bodies and disappearing – this means there are no active cells left behind to interfere with our reproductive systems at a later date.

Vaccinating yourself against Covid-19 actually protects your future baby. One study which examined the transfer rate of antibodies from mothers to their newborn child found that 98% of babies whose mothers had received both doses of the Covid vaccine were born with protective antibodies, compared with 43% of babies whose mothers had only one dose of the jab. Being vaccinated today therefore provides crossover protection for your child against the true dangers of Covid-19.

The real threat to fertility is Covid-19

A greater threat to fertility is SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. For men in particular, the risk of experiencing unwanted sexual side effects following a Covid infection is high. Researchers and physicians at the University of Miami found that the Covid-19 virus may cause erectile dysfunction by reducing the blood flow to the penis and can also invade the testicles, affecting sperm production.

The impact of SARS-CoV-2 on female fertility, though showing no immediate signs of having a negative effect, requires further investigation. What is known is that catching Covid-19 at any stage carries a higher risk of causing health complications, including during pregnancy and birth.

The data on Covid vaccinations and fertility is clear: they pose no problems for male and female reproductive health now, nor in the future. If you have questions about the vaccine and how it might impact you, please consult with a GP, midwife or obstetrician to help you reach an informed decision. Or visit https://www.nhsinform.scot/covid19vaccine

Want to help? covid:aid is solely reliant on your donations to provide the best possible support to all those across the UK significantly affected by Covid-19.

Donate now