New NIH study shows COVID vaccines do not affect ability to conceive

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A new study from the National Institutes of Health shows the COVID vaccine does not reduce chances of conception.

Several doctors and nurses in Wisconsin say many families delayed getting vaccinated because they wanted to get pregnant or undergo fertility treatment. But this new study shows the vaccines protect pregnant women and reduce risk to their babies.

Dr. Esther Eisenberg is a medical officer with the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, which commissioned the study of more than 2,000 couples. She said, "This is very reassuring."

Dr. Michael Beninati, an OB/GYN at UW Health, said, "It doesn't appear that the COVID vaccine is associated with any decrease in fertility."

The medical community is touting the latest research study that shows vaccines are safe for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant.

Pregnant women are more susceptible to suffering adverse effects from the virus. Dr. Beninati said, "When you're pregnant and catch COVID you're at an increased risk for becoming critically ill, for needing a ventilator, for needing ICU admission, for your baby to be born prematurely, for your baby to need ICU admission."

Which is why medical experts hope the study will continue to ease vaccine hesitancy. Dr. Eisenberg said, "Additional news is that the antibodies from the vaccine travel through the placenta and then protect the baby once it's born."

The study also shows the vaccines are safe for women undergoing fertility treatment. Sonja Araroz, nurse practitioner at Vios Fertility, said, "Now we have data, and so we do feel completely confident in saying this is the best way to protect you and your baby."

Providers say this study and others should also help ease those fertility concerns. Araroz said, "The data does support that there's no difference in miscarriage rates, implantation, or IVF outcomes for those going through fertility treatment."

The study also showed a short-term decline in fertility for men who contracted the virus, though that only lasted about 60 days before returning to normal. And that decline is not due to the vaccine, only the virus itself.

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