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Can COVID-19 vaccines affect fertility or pregnancy?

Clinical Lead for Women's Health and Bupa GP
12 March 2021

This article was written in line with the best available evidence and guidelines at the time of publishing. Keep up-to-date with the latest guidelines on coronavirus at gov.uk.


Many people are asking whether the approved COVID-19 vaccines are safe if they are trying for a baby, or if they are pregnant. In this article, I’ll explain the current evidence and aim to give some reassurance.

Can I have a COVID-19 vaccine if my partner and I are trying for a baby?

If you're trying for a baby, there is nothing in the current UK government guidance to say that you shouldn't have a COVID-19 vaccine. The guidance also says that, once you have had a vaccine, there is no reason to avoid becoming pregnant afterwards.

There’s currently no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines could affect male or female fertility. The Royal College of Midwives and Royal College of Gynaecologists have said there is not a plausible way in which there could be an effect.

The Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists and the British Fertility Society have stated similarly. They advise that you can still have a COVID-19 vaccine while having fertility treatment such as IVF.

Can I have a COVID-19 vaccine if I’m pregnant?

Reviews of the evidence by UK regulators and the World Health Organisation have raised no concerns about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy. But COVID-19 vaccine trials have only just started to involve pregnant women. Because of this, the UK government has said that people shouldn’t be routinely offered the COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy until we have more information.

The government does suggest that you should still consider having a COVID-19 vaccine if you are pregnant and:

  • at very high risk of catching COVID-19
  • living with a medical condition that could put you at higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19

You can talk with your doctor or nurse if you think this might apply to you. You can talk about the benefits and risks and decide what you feel is best for you.

Can I have a COVID-19 vaccine if I’m breastfeeding?

Clinical trials have not yet looked at the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for people who are breastfeeding or their babies. But there’s no reason to think that there would be any harmful effects based on current evidence.

Breastfeeding has benefits for you and your baby. The UK government, along with the World Health Organisation, have said that you can have a COVID-19 vaccine while breastfeeding. There's no reason to stop breastfeeding if you have had a COVID-19 vaccine.

Finding out more

Your doctor, nurse or midwife can talk to you if you have any concerns or questions about having a COVID-19 vaccine. You can also read the latest government guidance for women who are of childbearing age, pregnant or breastfeeding.

Keep in mind that there’s a lot of misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. It’s important to know the facts and to understand how you can find trustworthy information.

Dr Samantha Wild
Clinical Lead for Women's Health and Bupa GP

    • COVID-19 vaccination: a guide for all women of childbearing age, pregnant or breastfeeding. Public Health England. www.gov.uk, updated 1 March 2021
    • The RCOG and the RCM respond to misinformation around Covid-19 vaccine and fertility. Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists. www.rcog.org.uk, published 19 January 2021
    • Covid-19: No evidence that vaccines can affect fertility, says new guidance. BMJ 2021; 372. doi: 10.1136/bmj.n509
    • Covid-19 vaccines and fertility. Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists and the British Fertility Society. www.britishfertilitysociety.org.uk, published 11 February 2021
    • Coronavirus infection and pregnancy. Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists. www.rcog.org.uk, accessed 8 March 2021
    • Allotey J, Stallings E, Yap M et al. Clinical manifestations, risk factors, and maternal and perinatal outcomes of coronavirus disease 2019 in pregnancy: living systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ 2020; 370 doi: 10.1136/bmj.m3320
    • Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Vaccines safety. World Health Organization. www.who.int, 19 February 2021

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