The current advice from the Australian Dept. of Health states that the COVID-19 vaccine is considered safe prior to conception, but what if you are trying to conceive and going through fertility treatments – can the vaccine be taken close to egg retrievals, embryo transfers and sperm samples? And what about pregnancy?
While there isn’t definitive evidence-based data from Australia yet on the use of the COVID-19 vaccination close to embryo transfers etc., we’ve reviewed the advice of the British Fertility Society and Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists in the UK, whose vaccination program is further ahead than ours and which we believe presents a sensible approach based on the evidence they have to date. We have also considered the latest recommendations from RANZCOG (the Australian NZ obstetricians and gynaecologists professional association) and ATAGI (the technical group for immunisation in Australia).
We will continue to update this advice as further guidance becomes available.
People of reproductive age are advised to have the vaccine when they receive their invitation for vaccination. This includes those who are trying to have a baby as well as those who are thinking about having a baby, whether that is in the near future or in a few years’ time.
There is absolutely no evidence, and no theoretical reason, that any of the vaccines can affect the fertility of women or men.
Some people may get bothersome side effects in the few days after vaccination. These side effects can include tenderness at the injection site, fever, headache, muscle ache or feeling tired. We, therefore, suggest that you do not have the vaccine from a week prior to any planned procedure (for example, egg collection in IVF), until after the treatment outcome is known (i.e. you have a pregnancy test). This is so that any symptoms (such as fever) might be attributed correctly to the vaccine or the treatment procedure.
Immediately – you do not need to delay your fertility treatment, however, please note the caveats above about the possibility of feeling unwell after the vaccine.
None of the vaccines contains live virus and so there is no risk that you or your baby could get COVID-19 from the vaccine.
RANZCOG and ATAGI are recommending that pregnant women be routinely offered the Pfizer mRNA vaccine (Comirnaty).
Global data from large numbers of pregnant women have not identified any significant safety concerns with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines given at any stage of pregnancy. Furthermore, there is also evidence of antibody in cord blood and breastmilk, which may offer protection to infants through passive immunity.
COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any virus and so a donor cannot pass on COVID-19 through receiving the vaccine. The UK Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority have stated that you must allow at least 7 days from the most recent vaccination prior to donating eggs or sperm and we feel this is a sensible precaution. If any donor feels unwell after the vaccination, we recommend they not donate for 7 days after their symptoms have got better.
There is no reason to postpone having your COVID-19 vaccine as it will not affect your risk of having a miscarriage.
Please be aware that the speed of scientific research in this area is very rapid hence we advise you to always check our Facebook page for updated information and to discuss your individual situation with your health care provider.