A person holds a pregnancy test in their fingers.
Illustration: PGN

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What you need to know

  • Decades of research and the latest studies show that the COVID-19 vaccines have no short- or long-term impacts on fertility.
  • It is safe for pregnant people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and it’s actually unsafe for them to remain unvaccinated.
  • COVID-19 vaccination may cause small and temporary changes in menstrual cycles, but this is not a cause for concern.

Fears around the COVID-19 vaccines’ impact on fertility and pregnancy remain a major reason for low vaccination rates among certain populations. Two-thirds of parents with children ages 5 to 11 say they are concerned that the vaccines may negatively impact their child’s fertility in the future. And pregnant people remain a high-risk group that is severely under-vaccinated. But what does science actually tell us about COVID-19 vaccines and fertility?

Will the COVID-19 vaccines affect my fertility?

A new study found that getting vaccinated does not affect fertility for women or men. The study tracked data from more than 2,100 women and some of their partners in the U.S. and Canada for a year. The results showed that unvaccinated and vaccinated women were equally likely to get pregnant, at 19 percent and 18 percent, respectively. Unvaccinated and vaccinated men were also equally likely to have partners who got pregnant, at 18 percent and 16 percent, respectively. 

There is, however, some evidence that COVID-19 infection may have short-term impacts on men’s ability to conceive. In the same study, men who tested positive within 60 days of their partner’s menstrual cycle were 18 percent less likely to conceive during that cycle.

How can I be sure the vaccines will have no long-term impacts on fertility?

We can never be 100 percent certain that side effects will not arise in the future. But based on the science of how vaccines work and all the evidence we have thus far, we can say with confidence that the COVID-19 vaccines have no long-term impacts. This is because vaccine ingredients don’t linger in the body for more than a few days. In the history of vaccines, any side effects develop within weeks of injection. This time frame has long passed for COVID-19 vaccines and no impacts on fertility have been identified. 

Is it true that COVID-19 vaccines impact menstrual cycles?

A recent study found that menstrual cycles did change following COVID-19 vaccination, but the changes were small and temporary. Specifically, periods came a day later on average but were not prolonged. Cycles also bounced back to normal within one or two months. Such changes are not concerning and are likely a result of the temporary immune response induced by vaccines.

Is it safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant?

A new study of more than 46,000 pregnant women shows that COVID-19 vaccination does not increase the risk of delivering a premature baby or of having a baby born smaller than expected. Real-world data also shows that vaccination during pregnancy does not cause increased risk of miscarriage. So, yes, it is safe to get vaccinated while pregnant. 

It is actually unsafe for pregnant people to remain unvaccinated. If you are pregnant and get infected by COVID-19, you are at increased risk of severe illness and pregnancy complications. Since the pandemic began, 16 percent of pregnant women with COVID-19 have been hospitalized in the U.S. and more than 290 pregnant women with COVID-19 have died. Still, 29 percent of pregnant people ages 18 to 49 are not fully vaccinated. Among Black Americans, the rate of unvaccinated pregnant people is even higher, at nearly 43 percent.