One less excuse to avoid that COVID vaccine: The shots don't affect fertility in either men or women, new research shows, but coronavirus infection could cause short-term fertility problems in men.
"Many reproductive-aged individuals have cited concerns about fertility as a reason for remaining unvaccinated," said lead study author Amelia Wesselink. She is research assistant professor of epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health.
"Our study shows for the first time that COVID-19 vaccination in either partner is unrelated to fertility among couples trying to conceive through intercourse. Time-to-pregnancy was very similar regardless of vaccination status," Wesselink said in a university news release.
For the study, Wesselink's team analyzed data from more than 2,100 American and Canadian women and their male partners in an ongoing study of women trying to conceive.
The women provided demographic, lifestyle and medical information about themselves and their partners from December 2020 to September 2021, and were followed through November 2021.
The researchers found that the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines had no effect on male or female fertility.
However, men infected with COVID-19 may have a temporary decline in their fertility, the investigators found.
The report was published Jan. 20 in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
The findings support previous research linking COVID-19 infection in men with poor sperm quality and other reproductive dysfunction. The researchers said the findings should ease concerns about COVID-19 vaccines and fertility prompted by anecdotal reports of women having menstrual cycle changes after getting their shots.
"These data provide reassuring evidence that COVID vaccination in either partner does not affect fertility among couples trying to conceive," said study senior author Lauren Wise, a professor of epidemiology at Boston University.
"The prospective study design, large sample size, and geographically heterogeneous study population are study strengths, as was our control for many variables such as age, socioeconomic status, preexisting health conditions, occupation and stress levels," she explained.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a list of myths and facts about COVID-19 vaccines.
SOURCE: Boston University School of Public Health, news release, Jan. 20, 2022