COVID-19, not vaccine, may affect male fertility, NIH study finds

A National Institutes of Health-funded study involving more than 2,000 couples found COVID-19 vaccination doesn't affect the chances of conception. 

To conduct the study, published Jan. 20 in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers from Boston University analyzed data from the Pregnancy Study Online — which includes information from U.S. and Canadian couples trying to conceive without fertility treatment. Participants completed a questionnaire on their income and education levels, lifestyle, and reproductive and medical histories. 

Findings showed no major differences in the chances of conception per menstrual cycle between couples in which either partner had been vaccinated, compared to unvaccinated couples. Researchers also looked at factors that could possibly influence the results, such as whether participants had received one or two doses of a vaccine and vaccine type, and found similar results. 

Testing positive for COVID-19 overall wasn't associated with a difference in fertility. Researchers, however, found couples had a slightly lower chance (18 percent) of conception if the male partner had COVID-19 within 60 days before a menstrual cycle, indicating the infection could temporarily reduce male fertility. 

"The findings provide reassurance that vaccination for couples seeking pregnancy does not appear to impair fertility," said Diana Bianchi, MD, director of NIH's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, which funded the study. "They also provide information for physicians who counsel patients hoping to conceive."

To view the full study, click here.

 

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