IVF Treatment: Is It OK To Have The Covid-19 Vaccine?

In vitro fertilisation, or IVF is one of the most commonly used fertility treatments in the UK, with over 390,000 babies born as a result of fertility treatment in the past three decades. 

Undergoing IVF is a lengthy – and often pricey – process, which requires a great deal of preparation. For some people considering IVF, there are concerns about whether it’s OK to have the Covid-19 vaccine before or during treatment. 

In response to these anxieties, The British Fertility Society [BFS] has released a statement reiterating the importance of supporting patients undergoing fertility treatment during the pandemic, which says, “We recognise that the pandemic has placed a huge amount of stress on fertility patients, who have suffered distress from delays and a temporary suspension of treatment.”

The statement continues, “The Covid-19 vaccine is effective in preventing severe disease. It is heart-breaking to learn of unvaccinated pregnant women who are seriously ill and have died with this disease, which could have been prevented by vaccination, and to see misinformation about the vaccine on various platforms. 

“Studies show that Covid 19 vaccine does not harm fertility in men or women. It is not associated with any reduction in the chance of success with IVF [GLAMOUR’s bold]. It does not increase the risk of miscarriage or harm the baby. Covid 19 on the other hand can cause serious illness in a small proportion of pregnant women and is associated with an increased risk of preterm birth, stillbirth and maternal death.” 

The British Fertility Society and Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists have also released a document (updated January 2022), which outlines their response to the frequently asked questions of patients about the potential impact of the Covid-19 vaccine on fertility.

In this document, it states that there is “no evidence and no theoretical reason that any of the vaccines can affect the fertility of women or men” It notes that while research has shown that periods may be affected by the Covid-19 vaccine, “ovarian reserve [the reproductive potential left in ovaries based on the number and quality of egg] is not affected.” 

It also reiterates that “research has shown that the chance of success of IVF treatment is not affected by having the vaccine.” 

However, BFS also recommend that people having IVF may wish to “consider the timing of having a Covid-19 vaccine during fertility treatment,” adding that, “some people may get side effects in the few days after vaccination that they do not want to have during [IVF] treatment.”

These side effects can include “tenderness at the injection site, fever, headache, muscle ache or feeling tired.”

BFS add “It may be sensible to separate the date of vaccination by a few days from some treatment procedures (for example, egg collection in IVF), so that any symptoms, such as fever might be correctly attributed to the vaccine or the treatment procedure.” 

In response to the question “Should I delay my fertility treatment until after I have had the Covid-19 vaccine?”, the BFS advises:

“The only reason to consider delaying fertility treatment until after you have been vaccinated would be if you wanted to be protected against Covid-19 before you were pregnant.

“The chance of successful treatment is unlikely to be affected by a short delay, for example of up to 6 months, particularly if you are 37 years of age or younger.

“However delays of several months may affect your chance of success once you are over 37 and especially if you are 40 years of age or older.” 

Finally, the BFS explains that you can start fertility treatment “immediately” after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.

For more information about fertility and Covid-19 vaccines, you can check out the British Fertility Society’s website. 

For more from Glamour UK’s Lucy Morgan, follow her on Instagram @lucyalexxandra.