One of the most prevalent concerns related to receiving the Covid-19 vaccine is supposed effects on fertility. This includes those who are planning to get pregnant, those who are actively trying, and those who have no immediate plans but would like children in the future. Concerns are felt by individuals, and those who are worried on behalf of family members or close friends. There is no evidence to suggest that the vaccine will affect fertility. Browse the sections below for more information and assurance.
There is categorically no evidence to suggest that any of the vaccines developed to protect against Covid-19 have adverse or negative effects on the fertility of men or women. This is confirmed by Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have both stated that there is no evidence to support this claim.
Where did this myth come from?
The myth has become widespread through social media and word of mouth, and there are a number of sources that have contributed to misinformation and confusion.
Reports from unofficial sources in 2020, wholly unrelated to the vaccine development, claimed that the vaccine would threaten fertility due to it containing proteins that are also used by the body to make placenta. It was further claimed that this would lead to the body ‘attacking’ the placenta, making a successful pregnancy difficult.
This is not true. The protein used in the vaccine is similar, but not exactly the same and is in no way similar enough to confuse the body.
Confusion was also caused by official sources exercising caution when advising pregnant and breastfeeding women against taking the vaccine in the early stages of the rollout. The scientific phrasing suggested that effects were ‘unknown’, however this is only due to clinical trials typically not including pregnant women. Professionals are referring to other similar vaccines, such as the flu jab, to inform their advice, and more research is being done to confirm the safety of the vaccine and pregnancy.
Your fertility will not be affected by having any of the Covid-19 vaccines that are being offered to the public. The vaccine teaches your body to have an immune response by developing antibodies to protect against the spike caused by Covid-19, and this in no way relates to or affects your body’s fertility.
There is no evidence that the vaccine affects fertility at all. Information suggesting an effect has been circulating on social media and this has worried some people, but it is not accurate.
The two royal colleges with responsibility for midwives and for obstetricians and gynaecologists, have both looked at all the evidence and recently put out a clear statement to say there is no biologically plausible mechanism by which current vaccines would cause any impact on women's fertility.
The Royal Colleges have issued a joint statement:
The RCOG and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) are aware that there has been some misinformation circulating about the impact of Covid-19 vaccines on fertility. In response to this misinformation, the RCOG and RCM would like to make the following statements.
Dr Edward Morris, President at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “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.
“There is no biologically plausible mechanism by which current vaccines would cause any impact on women's fertility. Evidence has not been presented that women who have been vaccinated have gone on to have fertility problems.”
For women in the age group where they may be considering pregnancy, the vaccination is only currently being offered to two groups - health and social care workers (including carers for older adults in residential care homes) who are at higher risk of catching Covid-19 and those with serious medical conditions who have a greater risk of severe illness from Covid-19. Pregnant and breastfeeding women who are eligible will also be offered the vaccine.
RCM Chief Executive Gill Walton said: “If you are eligible for and have been offered a Covid-19 vaccine, the decision whether to have the vaccination is your choice. You can either have the vaccine or wait for more information about the vaccine. Women who are eligible for the vaccination should consider discussing any concerns they have with their midwife or healthcare professional.
“The RCOG and RCM would also like to emphasise to all women in this group (and all others) the importance of practicing social distancing, wearing a mask and regular handwashing.”
We have produced an information sheet to help pregnant women who are eligible for and have been offered vaccination make an informed choice.
This statement can also be found on-line here
View the full statement here
As the vaccine in no way affects your fertility, it is perfectly safe and advisable to get the vaccine when it is your turn. The advice differs slightly if you are pregnant. If you suspect that you may be newly pregnant, speak to your Dr for more advice. Getting the vaccine will depend on your immediate risk of catching Covid-19, and any underlying health conditions.
On 16 April 2021, the JCVI advised that pregnant women should now be offered the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as the rest of the population, based on their age and clinical risk group.
Based on this data, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises that it’s preferable for pregnant women in the UK to be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines where available.
All pregnant women should discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with their clinician, including the latest evidence on safety and which vaccines they should receive
For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/jcvi-issues-new-advice-on-covid-19-vaccination-for-pregnant-women
There are no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in breastfeeding or on the breastfed infant. Despite this, COVID-19 vaccines are not thought to be a risk to the breastfeeding infant, and the benefits of breast-feeding are well known. Because of this, the JCVI has recommended that the vaccine can be received whilst breastfeeding. This is in line with recommendations from the World Health Organisation.
If you hear something that concerns you, either about fertility, pregnancy, or another topic, it is important that you look for information from a trusted and reliable source. Some articles and videos online are based on personal opinion, not scientific evidence or expert advice. You can read more about the facts from the following sources online:
If you receive a dose of the vaccine before finding out you are pregnant, or unintentionally while you are pregnant, you should be reassured that it will not affect the vaccine’s success and the risk of harm to your baby is very low.