My Patients Ask — Is it true the COVID vaccines cause infertility?

Rumors, myths, and misinformation about COVID have spread as quickly as the disease itself. One rumor is that COVID vaccines cause infertility by dramatically decreasing a man’s sperm count.

According to AFP Fact Check, “[One] American physician named among the biggest ‘profiteers’ from anti-vaccination misinformation, appears on a YouTube channel sharing misleading claims about coronavirus shots. In a video viewed almost 100,000 times, she said they cause deaths, “transmit” side effects to the unvaccinated and cause infertility risks.” Unfortunately, the original clinical trials of the two mRNA vaccines didn’t assess how they might affect fertility.

INFERTILITY IN MEN

Now we have a study that has looked at this in men.

Senior study author Dr. Ranjith Ramasamy, director of the Reproductive Urology Program at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, told HealthDay, “Vaccine hesitancy is a barrier to ending the COVID-19 pandemic, and we believe some of that hesitancy is due to public opinion about whether the vaccine might negatively affect fertility.”

“We were the first to demonstrate that the COVID virus, itself, can affect male fertility and be a potential cause for erectile dysfunction,” Dr. Ramasamy said in a university news release. “We are now the first to examine if there is any impact of the COVID vaccine on male fertility potential, which we did not find.”

CNN reports, that researchers “used semen samples from 45 men between the ages of 25 and 31 [before and after a COVID mRNA vaccine], who were pre-screened to make sure they had no fertility issues.”

What did they discover? “Sperm count and quality did not drop in healthy young men after receiving a first or second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna” COVID vaccines, according to the study.

In other words, the research now shows that when it comes to male infertility, the truth is the opposite of the rumors and misinformation:

  • COVID may cause male infertility, however,
  • mRNA COVID vaccines do not!

Dr. Ramasamy told HealthDay, “The findings – which were published online in JAMA – could go a long way toward reducing vaccine hesitancy.”

I hope he’s right.

INFERTILITY IN WOMEN

But what about females? With regard to female fertility, to the best of my knowledge, we only have one small, retrospective study published in medRxiv.

It was done with 47 women in Israel who underwent a cycle of in vitro fertilization before and after receiving two doses of the Pfizer nRNA vaccine and found that there was no difference in the number of oocytes retrieved, the fertilization rate, and the clinical pregnancy rate during the pre- and post-vaccination IVF cycles.

The researchers concluded that these data suggest that COVID vaccination does not impact fertility (Safrai, medRxiv 2021 — preprint).


This blog was accurate as of the day of posting. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly evolves and the scientific community’s understanding of the novel coronavirus and the COVID vaccine develops, the information above may have changed since it was last updated. While I aim to keep all of my blogs on COVID and the COVID vaccine up to date, please visit online resources provided by the CDC, WHO, and your local public health department to stay informed on the latest news.

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2021. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

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