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Tuesday, June 18, 2024 | Back issues
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Covid vaccines pose no risk to fertility or early pregnancy for in vitro fertilization patients

While other studies and clinical trials netted the same results, Tuesday's study is one of the largest undertaken with nearly 1,700 women studied.

 (CN) — Covid-19 mRNA vaccines like those made by Pfizer and Moderna had no effect on fertility outcomes in individuals who underwent in vitro fertilization, or IVF, when compared to unvaccinated IVF patients according to doctors at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York.

Researchers compared key fertilization metrics in a group of IVF patients who received two doses of either the Moderna or the Pfizer vaccine, with those of a second, unvaccinated group. They concluded that Covid-19 mRNA vaccines had no adverse effect on early pregnancy outcomes following IVF treatment.

The authors published their results Tuesday in a new study in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology (the Green Journal), which is among the first to look at vaccine-related pregnancy outcomes in large numbers of patients.

“Our study assessed fertility treatment outcomes in patients who were fully vaccinated compared to unvaccinated patients who were treated during the same time period,” said the study's first author Dr. Devora A. Aharon, a fellow in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Icahn Mount Sinai and RMA of New York, in an email. “We looked at various markers of egg quality, embryo quality and development, and early pregnancy and found no differences in any outcomes when comparing vaccinated to unvaccinated patients. The study’s findings indicate that there is no impact of Covid-19 vaccination on fertility treatment or early pregnancy outcomes in patients undergoing in vitro fertilization.”

One group of subjects underwent treatment where their eggs were collected and fertilized by sperm in a laboratory; the embryos created were frozen and later thawed before being transferred to subjects’ wombs. A second cohort underwent medical treatment which stimulated egg development. After considering oocyte, fertilization and embryo development, along with the results of preimplantation genetic testing for missing or extra chromosomes, researchers determined vaccinated and unvaccinated subjects in both groups experienced similar rates of pregnancy success and early pregnancy loss.

“This is one of the largest studies to review fertility and IVF cycle outcomes in patients who received Covid-19 vaccinations,” Aharon said in a statement accompanying the study. “Our findings that vaccination had no impact on these outcomes should be reassuring to those who are trying to conceive or are in early pregnancy.”

In total, researchers studied 1,678 women who underwent controlled ovarian hyperstimulation and 1,271 who underwent frozen-thawed embryo transfer. The first cohort included 222 fully vaccinated individuals and 983 who were unvaccinated. Researchers controlled for age, BMI, anti-müllerian hormone level (which shows how many potential egg cells a woman has left), gravidity, parity and stimulation type.

The second cohort included 214 vaccinated and 733 unvaccinated patients. Researchers determined that primary and secondary outcomes were similar among vaccinated and unvaccinated participants in both groups.

The authors hope these results will further reassure women seeking to get pregnant through IVF that mRNA Covid-19 vaccines do not negatively affect fertility or early pregnancy. Previous clinical trials have demonstrated the same findings, but this is one of the first times researchers have studied pregnancy outcomes for such large groups of participants, adding to a growing body of evidence demonstrating the safety of mRNA vaccines as it relates to fertility.

As the team gathers more data, they plan to study live birth rates and neonatal outcomes, along with fertility and pregnancy outcomes following the booster shot, according to Aharon.

“By leveraging science and big data, we can help reassure patients of reproductive age and enable them to make the best decisions for themselves,” said senior author Alan B. Copperman, MD, a clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science at Icahn Mount Sinai and director of RMA of New York, in a statement. “It will give people comfort to know that the COVID-19 vaccine does not affect their reproductive potential.”

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Categories / Health, Science

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