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Covid vaccines and fertility treatments: Can I seek pregnancy?

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Most countries are immersed in the vaccination process against COVID-19. Thanks to the vaccines, we now start to see the end of a pandemic that has upturned our life and plans, including the wish of many women and couples of having children.

For many people, their reproduction treatments had to be delayed during 2020 due to Covid. And now, once these treatments have resumed, there is the doubt of whether there are incompatibilities between the vaccines and Assisted Reproduction. Let´s throw some light on this matter.

Covid vaccines

Two of the vaccines that are being administered in Spain do not contain live virus and are based on messenger RNA: they teach the body produce a protein able to trigger immune response. These are Pfizer and Moderna.

The third vaccine, AstraZeneca, uses another virus as a base which has been transformed to transport a portion of the DNA of the Covid virus so our cells are able to manufacture the Messenger RNA to then awaken the response of the body´s immune system.

Two doses are needed for the process to be completed in any of these cases.

Vaccines and treatments

Since this is a new variety of coronavirus, there is a lack of information on the possible effects of the vaccine, including the effects on reproductive treatments.

As a safety measure, there is agreement among the professional medical bodies (ESHRE, SEF), including the WHO, who recommend to stablish a period of delay from the administration of the second dose of the vaccine before seeking a pregnancy.

At iGin, in agreement with the scientific community, we recommend waiting two weeks after the administration of the second dose before starting any fertility treatment.

What happens if I get the vaccine while I am undergoing my fertility study?

There is no problem with undergoing the diagnostic tests prior to a fertility treatment while following the immunization process.

What if I have started my treatment cycle?

If the vaccination occurs during your fertility treatment, recommendations differ depending on the type and phase of the treatment:

  • In case of having started with ovarian stimulation (IVF/ICSI, egg donation, ROPA method):
    Completing the stimulation process is recommended, delaying the vaccination until after the egg retrieval. In case of embryo creation, it is not recommended to perform a fresh transfer but getting the vaccine and delaying the embryo transfer until immunization is completed.

  • In case of having started an artificial insemination:
    It is recommended to stop the stimulation and delay the treatment until after the immunization is completed.

  • In case of being in the process of an embryo transfer/receptor in ROPA method:
    It is recommended to stop the endometrial preparation and delay the treatment until after the immunization is completed.

  • In case of being in the process of receiving donor eggs:
    It is recommended to stop the endometrial preparation and delay the embryo transfer until after the immunization is completed. Donation can be performed and embryos vitrified.

  • In case of needing to provide a sperm sample (men):
    It is recommended to continue with the process and delay the vaccination until the sample has been collected.

Regardless, each case should be assessed by the medical team individually, taking into account the situation of each patient. There are cases of people who do not wish to get vaccinated or who consider that waiting times between doses would excessively extend the process of achieving a pregnancy or that such delay could worsen the reproductive prospect of the patient.

Vaccines and pregnancy

Until now, the general recommendation was postponing vaccination until the end of the pregnancy, as stated by the Spanish Health Ministry and the Scientific Community.

Despite not having signs to confirm issues related to the safety of the vaccine in pregnant women, there is little experience with this particular group.

However, the imminent arrival of the Janssen vaccine promises to change this approach, since this will be the first vaccine approved, by WHO or any other regulatory national bodies, for its use on pregnant women.

About IGIN Institute

IGIN Institute is a medical centre specialising in gynecology and assisted reproduction.
With its head office in Bilbao, in a modern infrastructure that provides its services using the latest technology without underestimating the human connection.