GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — As an OBGYN with the Center for Women’s Healthcare, Dr. Carolyn Harraway-Smith cares for patients of all ages and at all life stages.
“We take care of women along that continuum of care, including pregnancy, patients who are attempting to get pregnant, or patients who don’t ever want to get pregnant or women in their menopausal years,” Harraway-Smith said.
These days, COVID-19 — and the vaccine to protect against it — almost always come up.
“I think providers are more comfortable talking to patients about the vaccine, about the effects of the vaccine,” Harraway-Smith said. “It’s a lot easier for me to say, ‘I’ve had the vaccine, I’ve recommended the vaccine to my daughters-in-law,’ than just to give theory.”
The CDC recommends everyone 12 and older get vaccinated against COVID-19 — including people who are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or those who would like to get pregnant in the future, as well as their partners.
Yet vaccine hesitancy due to fertility concerns is something physicians, including Harraway-Smith, are trying to help their patients overcome.
“Unfortunately, it came from some erroneous information that was put onto the internet and it just blew up,” Harraway-Smith said. “That’s a story that we were actually able to track back to its source and it was of course found to be erroneous.”
So what does the science show?
“Now we’ve got thousands and thousands of patients who’ve been vaccinated and we have not seen any adverse symptoms in patients who were pregnant,” Harraway-Smith said. “We have not seen any decreased risk of fertilization in patients who are attempting to get pregnant or wanting to be pregnant.”
According to the CDC, in a recent in vitro fertilization study, researchers compared pregnancy success rates among three groups of women: Those with antibodies from the COVID-19 vaccine, those with antibodies from a COVID-19 infection, and those with no antibodies against COVID-19. The study found no differences in pregnancy success rates among the three groups.
“No vaccine has been shown to decrease fertility in women and the COVID vaccine is not different from any other vaccine in that regard,” Harraway-Smith said.
According to the CDC, thousands of women have self-reported becoming pregnant after one or two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
There’s also no evidence the vaccine causes fertility issues for males. Researchers looked at sperm qualities before and after vaccination and found no significant changes, according to the CDC.