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One of the most common misleading rumors regarding the COVID-19 vaccine is that it will impact fertility, which experts say is not based on fact and has been repeatedly debunked. It is believed that the false report first surfaced on social media and included misinformation about the spike protein associated with coronavirus.
The false information claimed that the spike protein was the same as another spike protein called syncitin-1, which is involved in the growth and attachment of the placenta during pregnancy. The rumor claimed that the vaccine would cause a woman’s body to fight the spike protein, impacting fertility.
“The two spike proteins are completely different, and getting the COVID-19 vaccine will not affect the fertility of women who are seeking to become pregnant, including through in vitro fertilization methods,” Johns Hopkins Medicine experts Drs. Andrew Satin and Jeanne Sheffield said.
Satin, director of gynecology and obstetrics, and Sheffield, director of maternal-fetal medicine, pointed to Pfizer-BioNTech’s trial data as further evidence. During the clinical trial, 23 female volunteers became pregnant, and the only one to suffer pregnancy loss was in the placebo group.
“Women actively trying to conceive may be vaccinated with the current COVID-19 vaccines – there is no reason to delay pregnancy after completing the vaccine series,” the experts said.
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Their findings echo those of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which currently states that there is “no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems – problems trying to get pregnant.”
Experts believe the false rumor involving COVID-19 vaccines and fertility first surfaced on social media.
“CDC does not recommend routine pregnancy testing before COVID-19 vaccination,” the agency stated. “If you are trying to become pregnant, you do not need to avoid pregnancy after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Like with all vaccines, scientists are studying COVID-19 vaccines carefully for side effects now and report findings as they become available.”
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The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also back the vaccine’s safety in both pregnant women and those who are looking to become pregnant.
“Unfounded claims linking COVID-19 vaccines to infertility have been scientifically disproven,” the ACOG states on its website. “ACOG recommends vaccination for all eligible people who may consider future pregnancy.”
Several studies have since found that the vaccines are safe for pregnant women, including one that examined the placentas of women who received the shot while pregnant.
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“The placenta is like the black box in an airplane,” Dr. Jeffery Goldstein, assistant professor of pathology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and Northwestern Medicine pathologist said in a news release. “If something goes wrong with a pregnancy, we usually see changes in the placenta that can help us figure out what happened. From what we can tell, the COVID vaccine does not damage the placenta.”