The BMJ clears this controversial topic up for us in its news published 19th February.  

New expert guidance dictates that there is absolutely no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines can affect the fertility of women or men. 

The guidance published by the Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists and the British Fertility Society comes amid concern that misinformation has been circulating about COVID-19 vaccines and fertility which has clearly put some women off having the vaccine. 

The guidance refutes any link between vaccines and fertility.  There is no evidence whatsoever and indeed no theoretical reason why any of the vaccines would affect the fertility of a woman or a man.

People of reproductive age should get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they are invited, including people who are trying to have a baby or thinking about having a baby the guidance says.  

People undergoing fertility treatment, which includes in vitro fertilisation, frozen embryo transfer, egg freezing, ovulation induction, intrauterine insemination or using donated gametes can be vaccinated during treatment. 

They may, however, wish to consider the timing given the possible side effects of vaccination.  The side effects can include fever and which may suggest that these patients should separate the date of vaccination by a few days from some of the treatment procedures. 

The guidance says that people may start fertility treatment immediately after being vaccinated unless they wish to have a second dose before pregnancy. 

The guidance also states that those who are donating their eggs or sperm for the use of others can still have a COVID-19 vaccine.  

Women who are pregnant can still have the vaccine if they are in a risk category for COVID but should consider delaying the vaccination until the pregnancy if they are not in a risk category.  

The guidance suggests that there is no reason to believe that any of the COVID-19 vaccines would be harmful, but their effects in pregnancy have not as yet been fully investigated. 

None of the vaccines contain the live virus and so there is no theoretical risk that the pregnant woman or baby could get COVID-19 from the vaccine. 

People who have had recurrent miscarriages and are now trying to get pregnant do not need to postpone having COVID-19 vaccine as it will not affect the risk of having a miscarriage. 

The London General Practice commends the government on its vaccination programme and encourages all those called up for a vaccine and in appropriate groups to be vaccinated as appropriate.

Dr Paul Ettlinger

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