- Rumors that the COVID-19 vaccine affects fertility continue to circulate.
- No evidence or even theory suggests the shots could impact fertility, but COVID-19 may.
- Medics have come together on social media to reinforce the message.
For months, dangerous rumors on social media have claimed that getting vaccinated against the coronavirus could hamper male and female fertility. Celebrities too have perpetuated these false concepts.
But doctors and scientists say there’s no evidence or even theory suggesting the shot affects fertility. On the contrary, COVID-19 may.
“We want to reassure women that there is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines will affect fertility. Claims of any effect of COVID-19 vaccination on fertility are speculative and not supported by any data,” Dr. Edward Morris, President at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said in a January statement.
“There is no biologically plausible mechanism by which current vaccines would cause any impact on women’s fertility.”
mRNA vaccines cannot enter cells, and tracking systems haven’t raised red flags
It’s thought the rumors began following a now-blocked Facebook post which incorrectly suggested that the vaccine teaches the body to attack a protein involved in placental development.
In reality, the protein the vaccine spurs the body to make and attack bears little resemblance to the one in the placenta.
Plus, based on the way the mRNA vaccines are made, they are “not going to be able to enter the cell of the baby and cause any problem, mechanistically speaking,” Dr. Zaher Merhi, an OB-GYN, reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist, and the founder of Rejuvenating Fertility Center, previously told Insider.
And, tens of thousands of people have gotten or remained pregnant after vaccination, according to three safety monitoring systems. That data shows that the vaccine isn’t linked to any increase in adverse pregnancy outcomes like miscarriage, preterm birth, or death.
“You’re much more likely to have fertility issues post-COVID than after the vaccine,” Nicola Stonehouse, a virologist at the University of Leeds, told the BBC. One May study even suggested that COVID-19 can damage penile blood vessels, potentially leading to erectile dysfunction and impotence.
Hence more than 20 American medical organizations writing a consensus that people who are or are planning to get pregnant should “feel confident in choosing vaccination to protect themselves, their infants, their families, and their communities.”
Doctors are speaking out against the rumors
On September 9, the CDC tweeted that people who want to become pregnant should get the vaccine.
—CDC (@CDCgov) September 9, 2021
Other medical professionals, including British general practitioner Dr. Amir Khan, have been reinforcing the message.
—Dr Amir Khan GP 💙 (@DrAmirKhanGP) February 12, 2021
Television doctor Dr Christian Jessen said she was excited to get the vaccine and not concerned about her fertility.
—Dr Christian Jessen (@DoctorChristian) February 13, 2021
Dr. Leah Gilliam, a family doctor in Lexington, Tennessee, tweeted that her pregnancy is proof the vaccine doesn’t cause infertility.
—Leah B. Gilliam, MD (@DrGRuralMD) September 13, 2021
And, in reply to Nicki Minaj’s claim that her cousin’s friend became impotent after getting the shot, Dr. Uche Blackstock, an MSNBC medical contributor, said she’d like to talk.
—uché blackstock, md (@uche_blackstock) September 13, 2021