COVID-19 Vaccine and Fertility Treatments

COVID-19 Vaccine and Fertility Treatments

The current advice from the Australian Dept. of Health states that the COVID-19 vaccine is considered safe prior to conception, but as there is not enough evidence on the safety during pregnancy it should be avoided until after giving birth.

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?

While there isn’t definitive evidence-based data in 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 will continue to update this advice as further guidance becomes available. 

Should people of reproductive age receive a COVID-19 vaccine?


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.

Can any of the COVID-19 vaccines affect fertility?


There is absolutely no evidence, and no theoretical reason, that any of the vaccines can affect the fertility of women or men.

Can I have a COVID-19 vaccine during my fertility treatment (IVF, Frozen Embryo Transfer, Egg Freezing, Ovulation Induction, Intra-Uterine Insemination, using donated gametes, or not)?


However, you may wish to consider the timing of having a COVID-19 vaccine during your fertility treatment. 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.

It also means that if your treatments is successful and you are pregnant, you can make an informed decision on whether to have the COVID-19 vaccine in consultation with your obstetrician. As stated above, the current advice from the Australian Dept. of Health is not to have the vaccine during pregnancy unless you are in a higher risk category for COVID-19, due to a lack of evidence on it's safety at this time. 

Should I delay my fertility treatment until after I have had the COVID-19 vaccine?

The only reason to consider delaying fertility treatment until after you have been vaccinated would be if you wanted to be protected against COVID-19 before you were pregnant. The chance of successful treatment is unlikely to be affected by a short delay, for example of up to 6 months, particularly if you are 35 years of age or younger. However, delays of several months may affect your chance of success once you are over 35 and especially if you are 40 years of age or older.

How soon after having a COVID-19 vaccine can I start my fertility treatment?

Immediately – you do not need to delay your fertility treatment, unless you wish to have your second dose before pregnancy (see above).

I had a positive pregnancy test today. Can I still have a COVID-19 vaccine?

If you are in a risk category for COVID-19, either because of the potential for exposure at work or medical issues, you can still have the vaccine in pregnancy. If you have no increased risks for COVID-19, the Australian Government Department of Health has advised that you delay it until after pregnancy. There is no reason to believe that any of the COVID-19 vaccines would be harmful, but their effects in pregnancy have not yet been fully investigated. The information that is known is quite reassuring. None of the vaccines contain live virus and so there is no risk that the pregnant woman or her baby could get COVID-19 from the vaccine.
For further information on vaccination in pregnancy, your obstetrician or other medical professional looking after you in pregnancy will be able to advise you, taking into account your individual risk.

I am donating my eggs/sperm for the use of others. Can I still have a COVID-19 vaccine?


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.

I have had recurrent miscarriages and am now trying to get pregnant again. Should I postpone having a COVID-19 vaccine?


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.

Photo by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash