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COVID-19 vaccines and fertility

A smiling couple leans against a wall.

Jan. 27, 2022—You might have heard talk about whether the COVID-19 vaccines can affect fertility. A new study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) may help put those worries to rest.

The study followed 2,000 couples who were trying to become pregnant. The researchers compared couples who had not been vaccinated against COVID-19 with couples in which at least one person had received at least one shot.

The results were clear. The COVID-19 vaccines did not affect fertility. That was true for men and women.

The NIH study looked at other factors, too, including:

  • What type of COVID-19 vaccine was used.
  • How recently they had been vaccinated.
  • How many doses they received.

There were no major differences. None of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the U.S. affected fertility.

That's not a surprise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), no vaccines have ever been shown to cause fertility problems.

COVID-19 vaccines and women

COVID-19 vaccines don't hurt a woman's chance of becoming pregnant. Many women have become pregnant after getting their COVID-19 vaccines. And vaccines do not raise the risk for miscarriage, according to CDC. COVID-19 vaccines are safe at any stage of pregnancy.

But pregnant women are at an increased risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. And COVID-19 is linked to a risk of serious pregnancy problems. COVID-19 vaccines can help pregnant women stay healthy.

COVID-19 vaccines and men

CDC and other experts have found that COVID-19 vaccines do not affect a man's fertility. Researchers have looked at sperm from before and after men were vaccinated. There were no major changes.

COVID-19 vaccines don't harm a man's chances of conceiving a child. But getting COVID-19 did have a short-term effect, according to the recent NIH study. Men were 18% less likely to conceive a child in the two months after they had COVID-19. That difference only affected men.

That may be because COVID-19 often causes a fever. Fever can reduce a man's sperm count. It can also affect how sperm moves.

The researchers noted other possible causes too. COVID-19 has been linked with:

  • Inflammation in the testes.
  • Erectile dysfunction.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe

The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. They can help you avoid getting very sick from COVID-19. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines in our Coronavirus topic center.

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