New Delhi: The covid-19 pandemic has been challenging for everybody and has highlighted the importance of staying healthy and strengthening our immunity. This also has brought all the brilliant minds from across the world together to develop a shield against the virus. As vaccines are now made available to the public, doubts and fears pertaining to their impact on health are also rife. Uncertainties and apprehensions around the Covid-19 vaccine had led to fears and doubts over whether it is safe to consider vaccination while planning a pregnancy.
In this article, Dr Preethi Reddy, Infertility specialist, Rainbow Hospital, shares a few recommendations on Covid-19 vaccination guidelines while planning a pregnancy.
Should people of reproductive age receive a Covid-19 vaccine?
Yes. People of reproductive age are advised to take the vaccine. This includes those who are trying to have a baby as well as those who are thinking about having a baby, whether that is in the near future or in a few years’ time.
Can any of the Covid-19 vaccines affect fertility?
There is absolutely no evidence and no scientific reasoning that any of the vaccines can affect the fertility of women or men.
Can women take the Covid-19 vaccine during their fertility treatment?
(IVF, Frozen Embryo Transfer, Egg Freezing, Ovulation Induction, Intrauterine Insemination, using donated gametes or not)
Yes. However, you may wish to consider the timing of having a Covid-19 vaccine during your fertility treatment, considering some people may get side effects in the few days after vaccination that they do not want to have during treatment. These include, for example, tenderness at the injection site, fever, headache, muscle ache or feeling tired. It may be sensible to separate the date of vaccination by a few days from some treatment procedures (for example, egg collection in IVF), so that any symptoms, such as fever, might be attributed correctly to the vaccine or the treatment procedure. Your medical team will be able to advise you about the best time for your situation.
Should you delay your fertility treatment until after you have had the Covid-19 vaccine?
The only reason to consider delaying fertility treatment until after you have been vaccinated would be if you want to be protected against Covid-19 before you were pregnant. The chance of successful treatment is unlikely to be affected by a short delay, for example of up to 6 months, particularly if you are 37 years of age or younger. However, delays of several months may affect your chance of success once you are over 37 and especially if you are 40 years of age or older.
How soon after having a Covid-19 vaccine can you start your fertility treatment?
Immediately – you do not need to delay your fertility treatment unless you wish to have your second dose before pregnancy.
You had a positive pregnancy test today. Can you still have a Covid-19 vaccine?
If you are in a risk category for Covid-19, either because of the potential for exposure at work or medical issues, you can still have the vaccine in pregnancy. If you have no increased risks for Covid-19, you are advised to delay it until after pregnancy. There is no reason to believe that any of the Covid-19 vaccines would be harmful, but their effects in pregnancy have not yet been fully investigated. The information that is known is reassuring. None of the vaccines contains a live virus and so there is no risk that the pregnant woman or her baby could get Covid-19 from the vaccine.
It is very important to be aware of the right facts and information about vaccines. Vaccines offer the best protection to the mothers who are planning conceive and already pregnant mothers from contracting the infection.