Welcoming a new child into the family can be an exciting time for new and experienced moms and dads alike. Couples can also be anxious when considering expanding their family during a pandemic. Many have asked if mRNA vaccines are safe for pregnant women or affect a woman’s fertility.

Research continues and we are learning more every day about the impact of COVID-19 on sexual and reproductive health – including new evidence that the disease may increase the risk of erectile dysfunction in men.

Have links to COVID-19 vaccines and infertility been identified?

No. Researchers found no link between FDA-approved COVID-19 mRNA vaccines and fertility problems in women or men. Vaccinated couples did not experience fewer viable pregnancies or specific pregnancy-related complications compared to their unvaccinated counterparts.

Learn more about the study results showing COVID-19 vaccines do not cause infertility or harm the chances of pregnancy, led by researchers at the Boston University School of Public Health.

Can sexual health be affected due to COVID-19 infection?

Yes. Data from the study noted that inflammation in the body caused by COVID-19 infection posed an increased risk of placental complications in unvaccinated pregnant women. Abnormal placentas have led to higher cases of stillbirths attributed to loss of oxygen for the growing baby. Read more about the study which shows that COVID-19 can destroy the placenta and lead to stillbirths.

Male reproductive health also appears to be affected by COVID-19. The potential for erectile dysfunction was three times more likely in men with COVID-19 than in those without the virus.

Additionally, shortly after infection, sperm viability was negatively affected, leading to a distinct period of decreased fertility in males. A UF Health study also suggests that COVID-19 can cause erectile dysfunction.

Vaccines help protect against COVID-19 infection

“Having COVID can impact sexual health…an even bigger reason for couples interested in getting pregnant or concerned about fertility issues to consider getting the COVID shot,” said Dr. Jason Bowling, epidemiologist from the university hospital.

Men and women should consult with their healthcare team to make healthy decisions for themselves and their new bundles of joy from conception through birth and beyond.