Doctor assures people there’s no link between the COVID-19 vaccine and infertility

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The myth that COVID-19 vaccines affect women’s fertility is a misconception an Intermountain Healthcare doctor says needs to be addressed.

Dr. Helen Feltovich, a maternal-fetal medicine physician, says wrong information is a danger to society.

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“The entire global world, including unborn fetuses is affected by this. Getting the right information out there is critically important,” she tells ABC4.

According to Stat News, the likely origin of this myth is from a letter sent to the European Medicines Agency by two European anti-vaccination propagandists. The report suggests they “erroneously claimed that the ‘vaccine contains a spike protein called syncytin-1 [that is] vital for the human placenta in women.’”

Feltovich says the syncytin protein is not in the COVID-19 vaccines.

“It is true, there is a certain protein found in the placenta that’s critical for fetal growth, but it is absolutely untrue that the vaccine contains the protein or that the vaccine promotes reaction against that protein so that a woman would make antibodies against it.”

When debunking a myth, Feltovich says people need to look at what the biological plausibility is and what’s the evidence of harm or benefit.

“There is zero biological plausibility to the vaccine being able to hurt someone’s fertility or pregnancy,” she explains. “We have evidence that is accumulating every day about the lack of severe complications or increased complications in pregnant women or reproductive-age women.”

 Feltovich assures people there is no link between the shot and infertility.

“There’s no plausible way that those vaccines could cause damage. Cause there’s no way for either one of those vaccines – the MRNA vaccine or the adenovector virus vaccine – to get across the placenta,” she explains.

The vaccines have not been found to cause birth defects, she says, but rather to be helpful.

“We have evidence that when the mother gets the vaccine, her baby can be born with protective antibodies against the virus,” Feltovich adds.

For women who contract the virus while pregnant, Feltovich says there is evidence of harm.

“On the contrary, there is evidence of fetal harm from having COVID. That’s the balance to think about there,” she tells ABC4.

After getting the shot, some women have reported a change in their menstrual cycle.

Based on evidence, biological plausibility, and history, Feltovich shares her insight.  

“This is just my speculation – any sort of stress, any sort of anxiety, can really perturb hormones and it doesn’t take a lot of stress to upset a woman’s regular menstrual cycle,” she says.

At this time, Feltovich explains stress and anxiety could be caused by concerns about getting the shot, or even pandemic-related stressors.

Feltovich says questions are a good thing and people should talk to their doctor about any concerns.

“Things about our health are frightening – to all of us. And everybody has different things they’re frightened about,” she explains. “Once you understand somebody’s fear, you can address it [through] biological plausibility and evidence.”

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