Today it’s all about the new COVID-19 vaccine and COVID-19 protocols surrounding egg donation. We know that there is a lot of information out there. Those undergoing IVF procedures or […]

January 29, 2021 // Evan Billups // No Comments //

Today it’s all about the new COVID-19 vaccine and COVID-19 protocols surrounding egg donation. We know that there is a lot of information out there. Those undergoing IVF procedures or who are trying to conceive may have questions regarding the vaccine and COVID-19 protocol in clinics. Here we answer some of the central concerns you might have, as well as providing some further reading and resources.

I am an egg donor. What should I expect in regards to COVID-19 testing protocol?
The protocol surrounding COVID-19 differs from clinic to clinic, depending on location. It can be hard to know what to expect as a donor, given these inconsistencies. In general, you should be prepared to be tested for COVID-19 two to three times during the egg donation process. Donors may be required to take a COVID-19 test before their initial office visit, before beginning their medication cycle and potential again before undergoing the surgical procedure. Depending on the location of the fertility clinic, these tests may be conducted in person at a rapid-test center, or as kits mailed to your home to be self-administered. Anyone accompanying the donor to a clinic office visit as support may also be required to get a COVID-19 test.

In addition to the tests, donors may also be asked to continuously monitor symptoms and declare their condition upon entering the clinic. If donors are showing symptoms of COVID-19, (such as fever, chills, coughing, headache, or sore throat), they will not be permitted to continue.

How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines that do not contain the live coronavirus. 

The vaccine delivers mRNA into cells near where you are injected; this mRNA gives your own body’s cells instructions on how to replicate the coronavirus’ spike (S) protein. This S protein is then recognized by the body as foreign, causing your body to generate protective antibodies. The mRNA itself quickly degrades and does not enter the nucleus.

For both of these vaccines you must go in 2-3 weeks later for a booster shot in order for the immunization to be effective.

Who is eligible to get the COVID vaccine?
Currently, eligibility for the coronavirus vaccine varies from state to state. Generally, vaccines are being given out to healthcare personnel and those in long-term care facilities, in accordance with the December CDC recommendation.

Following these prioritized populations, people ages 75 and older, people with underlying health conditions, and frontline essential workers will be able to get vaccinated.

As vaccine availability increases, more and more people will be able to get vaccinated.

Will the workers at the fertility clinic have the vaccine when I go in?
Again, it is dependent upon location and individual preference, but in general fertility clinic staff should count as healthcare workers and therefore should have the vaccine available to them. This does not guarantee that your fertility clinic staff will have been vaccinated, but that the vaccine has likely been made available to them.

Should you get the COVID vaccine if you are undergoing fertility treatment or TTC (Trying to Conceive)?
The official statement provided by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) says that you should get the Covid-19 vaccine even if you are undergoing fertility treatments or trying to get pregnant. This recommendation is in line with those of the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP), the CDC, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM).

Additionally, because the COVID vaccine does not contain a live virus, there is no reason to delay pregnancy attempts or to defer treatment until the second dose has been administered. 

If you are already pregnant, you should consult with your doctor/healthcare provider.

Will the vaccine affect my fertility or ability to give birth?
Because the COVID vaccine does not contain a live virus, it is not thought to put you at an increased risk of infertility, miscarriage, still birth, or any congenital abnormalities.

Specific data on pregnant and lactating women does not yet exist, so as stated before if you are currently pregnant please consult with your doctor on getting the COVID vaccine. 

I’ve heard the vaccine can cause fevers. Should I still get it if I am trying to conceive?
Around 10-15% of vaccine recipients experienced a fever following the second dose of the coronavirus vaccine. There have been animal studies that associate high fevers in early pregnancies with a slight increase in risk or birth defects and miscarriage. If you do experience a fever after getting the coronavirus vaccine, the current recommendation is to take a pregnancy-safe fever reducer such as Tylenol. 

Again, if you are pregnant, please consult with your healthcare provider.

Takeaways:
Overall, while data is still being collected about the COVID vaccine, the recommendation of healthcare professionals is that in the vast majority of cases, the benefits of getting vaccinated far outweigh the risks. Healthcare professionals overwhelmingly agree that getting the vaccine is much safer than contracting COVID-19.

All of us have friends, family, and patients that we want to protect, and getting the vaccine as soon as we are eligible will help prevent the spread of this disease.

Further reading:
American Society for Reproductive Medicine statement on the COVID-19 vaccine

The mRNA COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy: What you need to know if you’re pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or breastfeeding (University of Chicago Medicine)

Wondering about COVID-19 vaccines if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding? (Harvard Medical School)


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