Covid Vaccines and Fertility: All You Need To Know

A comprehensive guide and resources for more information

Tara Haelle
Elemental
Published in
11 min readJan 28, 2022

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A woman holds up a pregnancy test. Photo: Esparta Palma (Creative Commons License)

Since very early in the rollout of the Covid vaccines, rumors and worries about the vaccines affecting fertility have circulated. Like many of the questions people have had about Covid vaccines, this concern is a familiar one in the history of vaccines and vaccine hesitancy. Misinformation about vaccines and fertility has existed as long as vaccines themselves have, and concerns have periodically flared up over the years about specific vaccines, from the smallpox and HPV vaccines in the U.S. to the pertussis vaccine in Kenya. In fact, worries about vaccines causing infertility are such a common trope that they were featured in a fictional plot in an Amazon Prime Video TV show.

One possible contributor to this fear is that the vaccine clinical trials excluded people who were pregnant or nursing, which is fairly common in clinical trials (though multiple researchers have told me they disagree with it). Although 36 women did become pregnant during the trials, there were similar numbers of pregnancies in the vaccine and placebo groups.

Then the World Health Organization caused confusion and uncertainty by initially opposing vaccination during pregnancy even as American medical professionals were saying the benefits exceeded the risks. The WHO reversed their decision in late January and now recommends mRNA vaccination in pregnant people. The CDC has formally recommended vaccination during pregnancy since August, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommendations, updated as recently as December 2021, advise anyone who is pregnant or nursing to receive the Covid vaccine and the booster when eligible.

ACOG, along with the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, also issued statements last year reassuring people that getting vaccinated wouldn’t harm people’s chances of conceiving, and several studies since then have further shown no reason for worry. It’s also worth noting that there is no biological mechanism for the vaccines to affect fertility since the mRNA in the vaccine degrades within three days, the fat droplet containing the mRNA degrades within four days, and all the other ingredients are…

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Tara Haelle
Elemental

Tara Haelle is a science journalist, public speaker, and author of Vaccination Investigation and The Informed Parent. Follow her at @tarahaelle.