SA doctor confirms COVID-19 vaccine is not related to infertility, explains how the rumor started

Local expert answering KSAT viewer questions about whether the vaccine affects fertility, treatments

SAN ANTONIO - – Across the nation, COVID-19 vaccine sites are reporting lower demand and some vaccine hesitancy, which is causing experts to speak up about misinformation.

For months, KSAT has been fielding questions from viewers about the vaccine, clearing up confusion and worry.

One of the vaccine-related questions KSAT viewers are asking the most is: Can the vaccine affect fertility?

The answer from every doctor KSAT has talked to, is a resounding “no.”

“We have some information from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that’s recommending and encouraging women who are contemplating pregnancy to proceed to get the vaccine,” said Dr. Yetunde Ibrahim, an Infertility and Reproductive Endocrinology Specialist at both University Hospital and UT Health SA.

Ibrahim said that months ago she saw false rumors begin to spread, mainly through social media, saying the vaccine caused infertility.

“My understanding is this started when some anti-vaxxers sent a letter suggesting that the vaccine contained a protein that was very similar to a protein that functions in human placenta,” Ibrahim said. “They were suggesting that making antibodies against the protein that the body can actually attack placenta, therefore resulting in infertility and miscarriages. This was completely erroneous and wrong information.”

She went on to say the vaccine neither contains that protein nor the instructions that would tell your body how to fight against it.

“The questions I get with regard to that is, ‘Are there any particular side effects they should worry about that could impact their fertility treatment?’” she said.

The answer she gives her patients is that there is no evidence of any negative long term effects.

Ibrahim said she is glad to see her fertility patients asking questions so they’re informed and said that research is showing an opposite correlation between negative effects for pregnant women and a COVID-19 vaccine.

“Some new data suggesting that you can actually get some immunity from being pregnant and receiving the vaccine, and it getting to the actual baby,” Ibrahim said. “So, that’s another benefit to getting the vaccine.”

Pandemic fuels stress for families dealing with infertility; support widely available

To patients who are struggling with the decision to vaccinate, Ibrahim offers them the flip side: what happens when you get COVID-19 and are pregnant?

“We have significant increases of pregnant women requiring ICU level care, increased risk of pre-term birth. All of those things pale in comparison to some of the side effects you can get with the vaccine,” she said, referring to the day or two after the shot when some patients report a fever or headache.

She encourages patients to ask questions, saying the right information can relieve the already immense stress that comes with infertility.

If you have a question about infertility or pregnancy, submit it below:

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About the Authors

Courtney Friedman anchors KSAT’s weekend evening shows and reports during the week. Her ongoing Loving in Fear series confronts Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She joined KSAT in 2014 and is proud to call the SA and South Texas community home. She came to San Antonio from KYTX CBS 19 in Tyler, where she also anchored & reported.

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