A lot has changed since our last COVID –19 update in March of 2021. Vaccine boosters have been approved for distribution, there have been spikes in the Delta variant, yet many Americans are hesitant about receiving the vaccine and the impact it may have. We sat down with Dr. Alan Copperman, Medical Director at Progyny and Reproductive Endocrinologist of RMA of New York, to discuss new updates and questions patients may have about what these updates mean for their family building journeys. Whether you are thinking about expanding your family, actively trying to conceive, or already pregnant, see the recap below to learn more about the latest medical and scientific recommendations.
The Changing Landscape and Updated Guidance around COVID-19
We are now over a year and a half since the first cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and almost half a year since the vaccines have been rolled out and available. While this period has been difficult for us to all navigate, one thing we continue to reinforce is the importance of family and the importance of fertility treatments. We know in the last couple of months there’s been a spike in the Delta variant and FDA approval of booster vaccines.
Research continues to show the vaccine does not affect pregnancy or fertility. A recent study from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine showed that implementation rates between vaccinated women and unvaccinated women were not different. Additionally, research from the New England Journal of Medicine found that rate of miscarriage was not significantly different in vaccinated and unvaccinated women, suggesting the vaccine itself does not increase chances of miscarriage.
- Speak with your doctor to learn if getting the vaccine or boosters is the right decision for you. If you qualify, receiving the vaccine or booster shot can greatly decrease your risk (and you child’s) for COVID-19 and the Delta variant.
- Also, do not forget to get your Flu shot as we move into flu season. Protecting yourself against this seasonal sickness can continue to protect your immune system.
The Relationship between the Vaccine and Infertility
Is there any indication the vaccine will cause infertility?
The short story is there is no direct connection between the COVID-19 vaccine and infertility. Many prominent research groups are in consensus on this, including ACOG, ASRM, CDC, and more.
As of August 2021, 97% of hospitalized patients in NYC were unvaccinated and this case is consistent across states. As an unvaccinated individual going through fertility treatment and potentially pregnancy, being protected from the COVID-19 and Delta variant is crucial to the individual’s health and potential health of the child. Pregnant individuals are even more susceptible to falling sick as a result of their bodies working hard to support a growing child.
How do you handle vaccination hesitancy and questions from patients?
These conversations can be hard. For many, the loss of control is stressful and may have been felt since COVID-19 began. Making sure to research ahead of time and educate yourself on the vaccine options and your medical history can help clear up immediate concerns. For those patients who continue to be anxious, it’s helpful to give them space to voice their concerns and questions. Often times, I try to direct them to reputable research studies and sources so they don’t just hear my recommendation.
What is the recommendation for the booster shots?
The CDC and FDA have approved booster shots if you qualify. Regardless always peak with your doctor on what options are best for you during this time.
If you’re mid treatment cycle, and you’re due for either your second dose or the booster, should you wait or move forward? If the patient is not vaccinated but thinking of treatment soon – should the patient get vaccinated before and what does timing look like?
This is another conversation to have with your doctor. They will be the most informed on your health history as well as where you might be in the fertility treatment process.
Thinking about your “rest” days, especially during the weekend, is a good place to start when planning your vaccine or booster. Getting a shot on a Friday gives you more options to rest than getting a shot earlier in the week, depending on your schedule. Receiving a vaccine before starting treatment is also a preferable option since it allows you to avoid the potential fever implications during treatment.
When talking to your doctor about planning your vaccine or booster, it is also good to talk about prenatal vitamins and exercise – everything else you would ask about during the preconception phase.
I still find there’s a lot of misinformation when it comes to vaccines. Where should I go to find the truth?
Talk to your doctor or fertility specialist. Misinformation is common during any public health measure rollout. Some sources we’ve already mentioned here and include, ACOG, ASRM, CDC, and FDA.
The recommendation across these groups is to get vaccinated as soon as you safely can. The sooner you can protect yourself against the COVID-19 and delta variants is the priority for both the individual and others.
Progyny is always here to support you on your family building journey. Please remember the best person to help you make vaccine-related decisions is your own physician. However, if you are a Progyny member, your Patient Care Advocate is always here for emotional support or fertility advice. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.
For more information about COVID-19, please visit our resources page.
Please remember the best person to help you make vaccine related decisions is your own physician. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you have.