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COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy or fertility treatment

I am in full support of the COVID-19 vaccination for my fertility, gynaecology and obstetric patients. I understand that my patients have many questions relating to both fertility and pregnancy, and the safety of the COVID-19 vaccination. By answering these questions and addressing your concerns, I hope to be able to provide peace of mind. Remember, as always, specific advice from an obstetrician or fertility specialist tailored to your situation is always recommended.

Should I have the COVID-19 vaccine if I’m undergoing fertility treatment or IVF? 

Yes. Based on advice from the Australian & New Zealand Society of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, I support the decision to get a COVID-19 vaccination during fertility treatment. There is no evidence that the vaccine will affect your overall fertility or current treatment, nor the pregnancy that follows.

Should I have the COVID-19 vaccine if I am pregnant? 

Maybe. The vaccine has been inadvertently given to many pregnant women around the world with no increase in the rate of pregnancy complications or foetal abnormalities. Having said that, it has not been specifically tested on large numbers of pregnant women, nor are there any long-term studies looking at the developmental outcomes of children born to mothers who have been vaccinated.

My gut feeling is that the vaccination is safe during pregnancy, but we cannot be 100% certain. As a result, vaccination during pregnancy is not recommended unless special circumstances exist. Special circumstances may be that your job entails a high risk of exposure (e.g. front line workers, hospital emergency department staff, etc.) or because the consequences for you personally being infected with COVID-19 are higher due to medical conditions in you or your family.

Being vaccinated in pregnancy requires balancing the potential risks with the undoubtable benefits. I recommend discussing these issues with your fertility specialist or obstetrician.

Does the COVID-19 vaccine cause miscarriage?

No. There is no evidence of an increased risk of miscarriage or abnormalities in the physical development to your baby.

Should I have the COVID-19 vaccine if I am breastfeeding?

Yes. Whilst there is no available data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines to your breastfed infant, these vaccines are thought to be safe and not considered to be a risk to your child.

How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?

The vaccine protects you from COVID-19 by fooling your immune system into making an immune response to small proteins that are associated with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the virus causing the disease COVID-19). Your body will then have pre-built immunity should you ever be exposed to the real virus and you will be protected. For an adequate response, it is recommended that you receive the vaccine twice, several weeks apart.

What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?

There are minimal side effects that remain uncommon. These include a sore injection site, headache, fatigue, temperature rise and muscle weakness. These symptoms are not from you having ‘mild COVID-19’. They are as a result of the immune response that your body mounts in response to the vaccine.

What should I do if I am newly pregnant? 

If you have a recent positive pregnancy result it is best to speak with me first, or your own fertility specialist or obstetrician. I will review your risk factors and make a decision based on what is best for your stage of pregnancy, exposure risk and medical history. If you are newly pregnant, please call my rooms on 9418 8299.

Disclaimer

The information on this page is general in nature. All medical and surgical procedures have potential benefits and risks. Consult a healthcare professional for medical advice specific to you.

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