Vaccines do not affect IVF treatment

An embryo culture dish used for in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatmentShare on Pinterest
Scientists have found no negative effects on IVF treatments after COVID-19 vaccines. Science Photo Library/Getty Images
  • A research team from the University of Iowa conducted the first study to examine how COVID-19 vaccines affect IVF by fresh embryo transfer.
  • Scientists found no negative correlation in pregnancy rates between vaccinated and unvaccinated IVF patients.
  • The researchers hope their findings will provide new information for healthcare providers when counseling patients who are considering the vaccine and have concerns about their fertility.

People looking to start a family through fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF) may have concerns about how Vaccines against covid-19 could influence their outcome.

Previous research shows that COVID-19 vaccines do not affect fertility outcomes in IVF patients using frozen embryos. Research earlier this year confirmed that COVID-19 vaccines do not negatively impact a couple’s chances of conceive a child.

Now, new research from the University of Iowa reveals that vaccination against COVID-19 does not negatively affect pregnancy rates for those undergoing IVF with fresh embryos.

The researchers hope their findings will provide new data that healthcare providers can use when discussing the vaccine with infertile patients.

The study has just been published on JAMA Open Network.

IVF is a procedure designed to help women unable to get pregnant through natural means. IVF uses different procedures to harvest human eggs of a woman and fertilize them outside her body.

Once fertilized, the egg becomes a embryo. A doctor can freeze the embryo for later use in a frozen embryo transfer cycle. Alternatively, the doctor implants the embryo into the woman’s uterus a few days after fertilization, a process called a new embryo transfer.

Previous research shows that fresh and frozen embryo transfer cycles have relatively similar live birth and ongoing pregnancy rates.

In this study, the lead author Dr Emily Jacobsresearcher in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at the University of Iowa, and his team analyzed data from patients receiving fresh embryo transfer between December 2020 and September 2021. Among the patient population examined, 142 patients received been vaccinated against COVID-19 and 138 patients were not vaccinated.

Dr. Jacobs said Medical News Today this study was important to perform as previous literature focused on frozen embryo transfer cycles which had a high use of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

“These are two conditions that do not occur in in vivo design,” she explained.

“Despite previously published literature, at the time this study was conducted, patients – both fertile and infertile – still had significant concerns regarding COVID-19 vaccination and its potential impact on future fertility,” said she pointed out.

According to the study, the researchers found no evidence to suggest that vaccination against COVID-19 negatively affected the results of successful IVF by fresh embryo transfer.

Additionally, the research team claims that there were no significant differences in pregnancy and miscarriage rates between vaccinated and unvaccinated patients.

“Our data supports previously published literature that vaccination against COVID-19 does not negatively impact any aspect of female fertility – number of oocytesfertilization, embryonic development, implantation, (and) clinical pregnancy.
— Dr. Emily Jacobs

With this new data, Dr. Jacobs hopes healthcare providers will use the results of this study to counsel fertile and infertile patients who are considering getting the COVID-19 vaccine but are concerned about their future fertility.

DTM also spoke to Dr Catherine Racowskyembryologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School and chair of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) COVID-19 task force, about this study.

Although this study includes a relatively small number of patients in the vaccinated and unvaccinated groups, the results are very reassuring for practitioners and patients who are considering pregnancy or who are currently pregnant, Dr. Racowsky said.

“It is important to study the association between COVID-19 vaccination status and fresh embryo transfer because ovarian stimulation during an IVF cycle can alter uterine receptivity, which adds another variable to the effect. possible of vaccination on the establishment of pregnancy after the transfer of a new embryo,” explained Dr. Racowsky.

“The results are consistent with other findings that vaccination does not appear to interfere with ovarian function, which influences egg quality, or uterine receptivity, which affects whether pregnancy will occur and be sustained.”
— Dr. Catherine Racowsky

Dr Racowsky said the key message from this study is that women trying to get pregnant should not worry that vaccination will have a negative effect on their ability to conceive.

“In fact, physicians should be encouraged to advise their patients to get the COVID-19 vaccine if they are considering pregnancy,” she said.

“Pregnant women have a higher risk of serious illness and death than non-pregnant women; women trying to conceive can be counseled on both the increased need for [the COVID-19] vaccine as well as the safety of the vaccine during conception and during pregnancy,” she added.

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