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Can COVID-19 vaccines affect fertility or pregnancy?

Samantha Wild
Clinical Lead for Women's Health and Bupa GP
20 April 2021

This is an updated version of an article first published on 12 March. 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 I'm 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 (PDF, 1.3MB) 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?

If you are pregnant, you should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine when you become eligible for it. That may happen because of your age or your COVID risk. You should talk with your health professional about the benefits and risks of having a COVID-19 vaccine.

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.

However, the UK Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has said that it's preferable for pregnant women to have the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. That is because these vaccines have been used widely in other countries without any safety issues. This does not mean that other vaccines are not safe during pregnancy; it only means that there is less evidence available to go on at this stage.

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.

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

    • JCVI issues new advice on COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant women. Public Health England. www.gov.uk, published 16 April 2021
    • 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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