Olive Fertility Centre

COVID-19 and Pregnancy

Surrey fertility clinic assesses the safety of vaccinations for pregnant women.


Vancouver, BC -- (ReleaseWire) -- 04/14/2021 --As a fertility clinic in Vancouver, the team members at Olive understand that COVID-19, aka coronavirus disease, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, has changed lives in ways no one imagined (except maybe some scientists and Bill Gates). The introduction of vaccines marks a major milestone in the effort to control the spread of the virus—but are they safe during pregnancy? For more, go to https://www.olivefertility.com/blog/covid-19-vaccine-and-pregnancy

As of writing this release, four vaccines are approved for administration--Pfizer-BioNTech Moderna, for Johnson & Johnson, and Oxford-AstraZeneca. Admin varies (sometimes one dose, sometimes two.) These will be made available for free to everyone living in Canada over the course of 2021. Due to the initial limitation of vaccine supply, high-risk groups have been identified for priority administration.

These are all messenger RNA (mRNA) based vaccines, a remarkable and fascinating approach to stimulating the body's immune response, not only useful for fighting infectious disease but also promising for cancer treatment. mRNA vaccines can be produced and scaled far more rapidly than traditional vaccines. A detailed review of mRNA technology that predates the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here, but this is an extremely simplified version:

In contrast to traditional vaccines that introduce a portion of live or attenuated virus into your system, mRNA vaccines do not require any viral protein to be directly injected. Instead, the virus is reverse engineered, with the instructions for producing the target on the virus (specifically, the spike protein for SARS-CoV-2) coded into mRNA, which is then packaged into carrier molecules and delivered via intramuscular injection. The body's cellular machinery translates the instructions from the mRNA to produce the spike protein, which is brought to the cell surface like a warning flag. The body's immune system recognizes the spike protein as foreign and is now prepared to defend should an actual infection occur.

These vaccines have been found to be highly effective and safe in the population tested. However, as is the case with most pharmaceuticals, pregnant & lactating people were not included in these trials, nor were those who were specifically trying to conceive. The lack of evidence in these populations has led to confusion and uncertainty if those who are pregnant/trying to get pregnant should be receiving the COVID-19 vaccines.

The opinion from the UK states that pregnant individuals should not be vaccinated, and vaccination should be delayed for those trying to conceive. In contrast, the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists guideline "recommends that COVID-19 vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant individuals who meet criteria for vaccination." This is aligned with the opinion from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada which states that "the documented risk of not getting the COVID-19 vaccine outweighs the theorized and undescribed risk of being vaccinated during pregnancy or while breastfeeding and vaccination should be offered."

For those trying to conceive, the SOGC statement, which was also endorsed by the Canadian Fertility & Andrology Society, states "It is not known whether an individual should delay pregnancy following receipt of the vaccine and a risk-benefit discussion for those planning pregnancy should occur similar to the discussion for pregnant and breastfeeding (individuals)." The American Society for Reproductive Medicine is more direct stating, "Patients undergoing fertility treatment and pregnant patients should be encouraged to receive vaccination based on eligibility criteria. Since the vaccine is not a live virus, there is no reason to delay pregnancy attempts because of vaccination administration or to defer treatment until the second dose has been administered."

On balance, while there is no safety data around the COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy, it is clear from phase 3 trials that the vaccine is very safe in general. The adverse effects of the vaccine appear to mostly comprise injection site reaction, fatigue, muscle pain, and fever.

In contrast, the risks of COVID-19 infection can be deadly. Contrary to initial impressions from the earlier days of the pandemic, more recent evidence indicates that pregnant individuals may be more severely affected, requiring invasive ventilation, with risk factors particularly high for those over the age of 35. In other words, if a pregnant person does become ill with COVID-19, they have a greater risk of more complications than their non-pregnant counterparts. Even for those who recover, there appear to be risks of long-term complications, as seen in some 'long-haulers'.

In the lack of definitive data, decisions can only be based on the best evidence available. While the risks of the vaccine are theoretical, the dangers of the infection are real. Anyone eligible for the currently approved COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, can rest assured that expert opinions from both the Canadian and American reproductive specialty professional societies endorse their use during pregnancy. As always, talk to your health care professionals to determine the best course individually.

To learn more, contact Olive Fertility Centre in Vancouver.

About Olive Fertility Centre in Vancouver
Olive Fertility Centre is one of Canada's leading IVF and fertility centres with among the highest pregnancy rates in the country. With decades of experience, a state-of-the-art laboratory facility, personalized care, and advanced fertility treatments such as IVF, Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT-A), and egg freezing, Olive offers families an excellent chance of achieving a successful pregnancy.

For more information, go to https://www.olivefertility.com/

Oliver Fertility Clinic
Company Website: https://www.olivefertility.com/