As more information is released about the COVID-19 vaccine and fertility, ARC Fertility is committed to ensuring the community is aware of the best practices for those who are trying to conceive or are currently pregnant. As the clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccines were not conducted on pregnant or breastfeeding individuals, nor did they take into consideration if the patient was trying to conceive, there was understandably some confusion and questions in regards to the safety of the vaccine for these individuals.
Last month, the ASRM Coronavirus/COVID-19 Task Force released a statement in support of public health measures to combat the virus, including the recently approved vaccines. ASRM, along with the American College of OB/GYNs, the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine, the Society for Gynecological Oncology, and the AAGL does not recommend withholding the vaccine from patients who are planning to conceive. All patients undergoing fertility treatments and pregnant patients should be encouraged to receive the vaccination upon eligibility. Unfortunately, at the time, there was no clear guidance for men who were trying to conceive, as there was no data on how the COVID-19 vaccine would affect male or female fertility. This left many people frustrated and concerned.
However, in recent good news, The Society for Male Reproduction and Urology (SMRU) and the Society for the Study of Male Reproduction (SSMR) have released further guidance for men who are trying to conceive. SMRU and SSMR recommend that:
- The COVID-19 vaccine should not be withheld from men desiring fertility who meet criteria for vaccination; and
- COVID-19 vaccines should be offered to men desiring fertility, similar to men not desiring fertility, when they meet criteria for vaccination.
As reactions differed between individuals and genders, it is also important to note that “16% of men in the Pfizer/BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial experienced fever after the second dose.” Luckily, the fever was mild and not considered to be dangerous. Unfortunately, any fever can cause “temporary declines in sperm production,” thus if the individual does have a fever after the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine, he may experience a temporary decline in sperm production.
For those who are trying to conceive, SMRU and SSMR still encourage individuals to get the vaccines when they are eligible, as the temporary reduction in sperm production is “similar to or less than if the individual experienced fever from developing COVID-19 or for other reasons.” The side effects from the vaccine are still considered to be mild and should not dramatically alter the ability to conceive.
ARC stands behind this latest statement. We encourage eligible patients to discuss all COVID-19 vaccination options with their healthcare provider.
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