Covid vaccines don’t affect fertility, but getting Covid could

A new study shows that Covid-19 vaccines do not impair fertility in men or women – but a Covid infection could potentially affect a man’s fertility for up to 60 days.

Research funded by the National Institutes of Health and published Thursday in the American Journal of Epidemiology tracked the data of over 2,100 women and some of their partners in the United States and Canada for about a year, ending in November 2021.

It found that getting a Covid shot had no discernible effect on fertility rates in either men or women, adding to a growing body of evidence around the safety of Covid vaccines.

The study also found that men who tested positive for Covid within 60 days of their partner’s menstrual cycle were 18% less likely to conceive during that cycle, compared to men who had not tested positive. .

“There’s not necessarily any harm in trying to conceive soon after having Covid, but it may take a little longer,” Amelia Wesselink, study co-author and research assistant professor of epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public Health, told CNBC Make it.

Wesselink says the results showed no long-term effect of Covid infections on male fertility, nor any effect on female fertility.

How Covid infections could affect male fertility

More research is needed to determine why male fertility drops after Covid infections. However, it should be noted that fever is a common symptom of Covid – and fevers are known to temporarily reduce sperm count and motility, according to the NIH.

Dr Boback Berookhim, director of male fertility and microsurgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, said men who had symptomatic Covid with high fevers can potentially experience a temporary drop in sperm count which is likely to bounce back after a few months.

“Sperm production generally requires normal body temperatures,” he says.

Dr. Adi Katz, director of gynecology at Lenox Hill, says inflammation caused by infection can also play a role in reducing sperm quality. Multiple studies have now shown that Covid infections can affect male fertility, mainly in people who become moderately to severely ill, she adds.

Researchers in the NIH-funded study noted that the short-term decline in male fertility could potentially be prevented by getting the Covid shot. Wesselink says she hopes the study results can help couples make informed decisions about Covid vaccinations and provide reassurance that getting vaccinated won’t hurt their chances of conceiving.

To conduct the study, researchers collected data from more than 2,100 women, ages 21 to 45, in the United States and Canada from December 2020 to November 2021. Subjects were asked to complete questionnaires online health every eight weeks until they get pregnant, or for a year if they haven’t.

Participants were also asked about their male partners and given the opportunity to invite their partners to complete similar questionnaires. Almost 25% of them did. At the time of the study, 73% of women and 74% of men had received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine.

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