Can women and men, who are planning on a pregnancy in the near future, be vaccinated against COVID-19?
The vaccination program is progressing rapidly in Greece and around the world and inevitably raises questions for couples trying to conceive.
The official instructions and recommendations from the international scientific organizations concerning the vaccination of women and men who are expecting or wish to have a child, are explained by Nikos Christoforidis, MD, MSc, FRCOG, Obstetrician-Gynecologist, Embryolab Clinical & Scientific Director, Embryolab Academy Co-founder.
Q: We will be undergoing egg collection in the near future. Can my husband get the vaccine and when?
A: He can be vaccinated normally, taking into consideration, though, that the sperm collection should take place at least 3 to 5 days after the 2nd dose of the vaccine, as fever can occur as a side effect, which can affect semen. Otherwise, if the time of sperm collection coincides with the 2nd dose of the vaccine, preventive sperm cryopreservation is recommended, especially in severe oligoasthenospermia cases.
Q: After the vaccination my husband developed a fever. When can he have a semen test?
A: 10-15 days after the febrile episode. Depending on the results, a new semen analysis may be necessary.
Q: I am pregnant and would like to be vaccinated against Covid19. Is one trimester of pregnancy better than another?
A: No, there is no difference in the time of vaccination during pregnancy and in the efficacy or safety of the vaccine (we generally refer to mRNA vaccines here, Pfizer / Moderna).
Q: What are the contraindications to the vaccine?
A: These are discussed and evaluated by the physician responsible for the vaccination and relate primarily to a strong allergic substrate. With the limitations we have already mentioned about the Astra Zeneca vaccine, trying to conceive, as well as pregnancy itself, are not contraindications to mRNA vaccines.
Q: A history of thrombophilia is a contraindication to a vaccine, especially the Astra Zeneca;
A: No, thrombophilia is not a contraindication to vaccination. However, each case will be evaluated by the physician responsible for the vaccination.
Q: I was vaccinated and tested for Covid-19 antibodies in a recent test. Why do I need to do a PCR before egg collection / ET?
A: Vaccination is not 100% effective for everyone on the one hand, on the other hand 10-25% of people vaccinated can still transmit the virus. Finally, it is the Clinic’s obligation based on the instructions issued by the National ART Authority to test every woman before entering the operating room for ART treatment.
Regarding men’s vaccination against Covid19 we adopt the joint declaration of the Society for Male Reproduction and Urology (SMRU) and the Society for the Study of Male Reproduction (SSMR):
– Human vaccination is indicated in a similar way to the general population and with the proposed criteria.
– there is no evidence that vaccination negatively affects fertility, neither in men nor in women.
-febrile episodes have been reported, especially after the 2nd dose of the vaccine, with a possible transient drop in spermatogenesis.
– in such case, a clinical and biological evaluation will be carried out on a case-by-case basis.
As Covid19 disease in humans, apart from the morbidity and risks involved, is associated with adverse effects on spermatogenesis, it is important to encourage vaccination as the most effective prevention strategy.
Finally, especially in cases of severe male infertility, it is a good practice to cryopreserve sperm as a precaution, in order to avoid the possibility of a sudden drop in sperm parameters closer to the completion of the vaccination scheme.
The guidelines are based on recent announcements from official international organizations on assisted reproduction and fertility. We are expecting new data from ongoing studies soon.
A high level of safety and care is now imperative like never before, and a top priority in any pregnancy and assisted reproduction effort.
At Embryolab, we are committed to this. We call it, the science that cares.
For us, assisted reproduction highlights the responsibility towards the individual and the couple, with a deep understanding of the individuality and sensitivity of each case.
At Embryolab, being passionate and always respectful of people’s dreams, we engage in knowledge, we change lives, we create families.
Nikos Christoforidis, MD, MSc, FRCOG,
Embryolab Clinical & Scientific Director,
Embryolab Academy Co-founder