Scientists have learned how vaccination against Covid-19 affects the ability to conceive a child

(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have concluded that coronavirus infection in men may be associated with a short-term decrease in fertility, while vaccination against Covid-19 does not affect it in any of the partners.

One of the main myths of the current pandemic is that vaccination against coronavirus leads to problems with conceiving a child and even infertility. Such prejudices are a problem in the way of immunization of the population and the successful fight against the virus, because doubts about the safety of drugs for the prevention of Covid-19 lead to refusals to vaccinate.

According to scientists, in the US, rumors that vaccination could impair female fertility arose on the basis of messages on social networks.

Their authors argued that the similarity between the surface protein of SARS-CoV-2 and syncytin-1 , a glycoprotein necessary for the formation of the placenta, can lead to the formation of antibodies that provoke placental dysfunction. Since then, researchers have published several papers confirming the absence of antibodies to syncytin-1 after vaccination against Covid-19 with mRNA preparations.

Also, some studies have studied the effect of vaccines on male sexual function: in the end, they did not reveal a significant difference in sperm concentrations or indicators of their motility before and after vaccination.

However, naturally occurring coronavirus infection has been associated with poor ejaculate quality, including abnormal morphology, reduced sperm concentration and motility. This was considered the consequences of fever and inflammation.

However, data on how vaccination and Covid-19 itself can affect fertility is limited, so scientists continue to study this issue. And employees of the Boston University School of Public Health (USA), who published their work in the American Journal of Epidemiology , did not bypass this topic.

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The sample included participants in the Pregnancy Study Online, a cohort study of couples from the United States and Canada. Scientists followed 2126 women aged 21-45 who wanted to get pregnant from December 2020 to November 2021. Every eight weeks, they filled out questionnaires about themselves, lifestyle, menstruation, fertility treatment, other medical factors — including history of Covid-19, vaccinations, dosing dates — and similar information about partners (over 21). Additional surveys were conducted during pregnancy and after childbirth.

The researchers first compared participants who received at least one dose of the vaccine by the first day of each menstrual cycle with those who received no vaccine at all, and then those who completed the full vaccination cycle (two doses). Pfizer/BioNTech, or Moderna, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson) and have not been vaccinated.

They also compared volunteers who had ever tested positive for Covid-19 by the first day of their menstrual cycle with those who were not sick. Couples were followed up until they got pregnant (regardless of the outcome) or started fertility treatment, stopped trying to conceive, and so on, whichever came first.

To assess the relationship between the time elapsed since vaccination or infection and the onset of pregnancy, many more factors were taken into account: age, level of education, income, bad habits, health insurance, number of hours worked per week, body mass index, frequency of sexual intercourse, contraceptive methods, sleep duration, stress, history of infertility, region of residence and much more.

Most of the women who participated in the study had a high level of education, good income and health insurance, 25% worked in the health sector. About 37% already had children, and 9% reported a history of infertility. With regard to vaccination, its prevalence was generally the same among women and men: 73% and 74%, respectively, received an injection of at least one component by the first day of the menstrual cycle.

Those who were vaccinated were more likely to graduate from college, earn good salaries, live in the United States, and work in healthcare. They were less likely to have given birth earlier and were less likely to have infertility and irregular menstrual cycles.

As a result, scientists came to the main conclusion: vaccination against coronavirus infection was not associated with a decrease in fertility in any of the partners.

So, in participants who were vaccinated with at least one component before the start date of the cycle, the probability of conception during it turned out to be 1.08 times higher than in unvaccinated ones.

The adjusted rate for women who completed the course of vaccination (recall: this is two doses of Pfizer / BioNTech, or Moderna, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson) was estimated at 1.07. For male partners, it was 0.95 for one component and 1.00% for the full course.

The chance of conceiving a child for couples in which at least one person was vaccinated with the first component was 0.97, compared with couples where no one was vaccinated. After adjusting for any risk factors, the results did not change, including no correlation with vaccine brands, country of residence, and occupation.

The transferred Covid-19 also did not affect the fertility of women (the probability of fertilization is 1.07), which cannot be said about men. In them, SARS-CoV-2 infection was associated with impaired fertility: the rate was 0.82 within 60 days of infection, but rose to 1.16 after these 60 days.

“Coronavirus infection in men can lead to a short-term decrease in fertility, while vaccination against Covid-19 does not affect it in any of the partners,” the researchers concluded.

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