Debunking COVID and Infertility

.It’s nearly two years since the COVID virus first made deadly headlines around the world, and now with each new variant that pops up, it seems like a new myth accompanies it.  It’s no surprise that many myths about COVID and COVID vaccines are being tied to fertility and infertility.  The good news is that many of these myths are just that – myths! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that there is no evidence to support the myth that the COVID vaccine causes infertility issues.  It is documented that the virus can affect pregnant women more severely than non-pregnant women. 

Misinformation and disinformation around COVID-19 vaccines have drawn attention to legitimate problems. One problem is the way pregnant people have been excluded from many drug research and clinical trials, ostensibly in the name of safety. The decision to leave women and pregnant women out leads to knowledge gaps, which allows others to weaponize it to further their agendas.

Myth:  The vaccine will infect me with COVID-19, and I know people who have gotten sick with fevers and body aches after getting the vaccine.

There is no COVID — none of the actual virus — in the vaccine. Just like with many vaccines, the body aches and chills you may experience are an immune response. It’s showing that your body is actually recognizing that protein and saying, ‘Let me start generating a response to this.’ It’s actually a good thing!

Myth:  The vaccines cause fertility issues.

There are no proven fertility issues associated with getting vaccinated for COVID. While it makes sense that a woman would be concerned about her future fertility, Reproductive Endocrinologists and OBs are in agreement that the vaccine does not affect a woman’s ovaries or pose any problems with the reproductive system.  Looking at the risk of getting COVID while pregnant or vaccinated before getting pregnant, the first option is much worse. Getting COVID while pregnant will put you and your baby at greater risk. 

Studies have shown that unvaccinated pregnant women are at a higher risk for premature birth (which is bad for your baby). Pregnant women are at risk for more severe COVID-related symptoms (which can result in hospitalization and death). Women who are considering pregnancy should absolutely get vaccinated.  There are too many stories of women having c-sections while on a ventilator – unable to experience the joy of their baby’s birth. All because they are near death due to a virus that could have been avoided by getting vaccinated. 

Myth:  How can we know how the vaccine will affect pre-pubescent girls since children as young as 12 are eligible for the vaccine? Are there risks for the future fertility of 12-year-old girls?

No, there are no reported fertility issues at all for any age group. Everyone should get vaccinated.

Myth:  The vaccines were rushed through the approval processes without extensive research.

The vaccines were not rushed. All three vaccines have been studied extensively. They all have a lot of safety data backing them up.  The normal process for approval is unbelievably long. It has a lot of administrative hurdles that a company has to go through in a normal process that does not have anything to do with more safety evaluation. Thankfully, the COVID vaccines moved quicker because the global need was more urgent.  The pandemic was killing people at a rate that was increasing every day.  

Myth:  The vaccines rely on new, experimental technology.

While it feels like new technology the technology behind the COVID vaccines is not new.  It was developed years ago and has been vastly studied.

COVID vaccines are mRNA vaccines – and the great thing about the mRNA vaccines is that they are able to be changed and developed quickly, which is a good thing since it looks like COVID will be mutating as well.  It also appears that mRNA is going to become the standard for vaccines moving forward. 

Myth:  The government is building a database with identifying information about people who get the vaccines.

To get vaccinated, a person does need to provide personal information.  One needs to keep in mind that the government is providing these vaccines for free. They also need to have some way to document who is receiving them.  But For those of you who are concerned about the government collecting information about you. You don’t need to worry – they already have information about you.  You’re not giving anything that isn’t already out there. You pay taxes. You vote. All of those things require information. This is the same thing. The government is not creating some super-secret list that is going to be used for anything in the future.

If you’re still concerned about who has access to the information you are asked to provide when you get vaccinated, remember that everything is HIPAA protected. This means if you’re my patient as your doctor,  I can access your medical information (with your written permission). No doctor or anyone else for that matter is able to simply look up their neighbor’s medical history. Just as they will not be able to access any COVID information pertaining to you.

There are so many myths circulating the globe and so many of them are pure fiction.  Stories spread to capture headlines and cause media uproar.  We need to remember that it is especially important to ask questions. Don’t simply believe everything you read on the Internet or are told by your friends.

It should always be our goal to weed out false information and to pass along only what we know is medically accurate – with the scientific data to back it up.  

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