“The next big chapter in my life, I think, is being a father and it’s something that is very close to my heart,” said the Green Bay Packers quarterback.
Rumors that COVID-19 vaccines are affecting both male and female fertility continue to fuel the concerns of millions who are still hesitant to get vaccinated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and several other medical organizations said there was “no evidence that vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men.”
However, popular voices, including artists Nicki Minaj and more recently, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers often pays renewed attention to common plots that science has proven to be inaccurate.
During a Nov. 5 appearance on the Pat McAfee Show Live, Rodgers said he had done his own research and learned he was allergic to an ingredient in COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, including Pfizer injections and Moderna, and that he was concerned about the “adverse events” reported by some after vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Among other issues that the NFL superstar highlighted, potential fertility issues were among his top concerns.
“The next big chapter in my life, I believe, is being a father and it’s something that is very close to my heart,” said Rodgers. “To my knowledge, there haven’t been any long-term studies of sterility or fertility issues around vaccines, so this was definitely something that worried me.”
It is true that there are no long-term studies analyzing how coronavirus vaccines affect male or female fertility. COVID-19 is a new disease that infiltrated the human population only about two years ago, so studies can only cover some ground. There is still more to learn about the long-term effects of vaccines, which have only been around for about a year.
But the likelihood that people will have difficulty reproducing in five, 10 or even 20 years is low, thanks to how vaccines work.
“In the history of vaccines, there has never been a side effect that has occurred more than two months after a vaccine is given,” said Dr. Wesley Long, medical director of the Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas, in an August blog post. “People are concerned that an unknown side effect may occur in 10 to 15 years, but the truth is, it never happened.”
Pfizer and Moderna vaccines do not contain live virus. Instead, they include mRNA, a molecule found naturally in our body that teaches our immune system to make antibodies.
At no time does the vaccine interact with your DNA or cause genetic changes, as mRNA does not enter the nucleus of the cell, where your DNA is located, according to the CDC.
The J&J vaccine injects a harmless virus called adenovirus that has been genetically modified so that it cannot reproduce in humans or cause disease.
All of this material, regardless of the vaccine it comes from, is cleared by your body within days, leaving only the instructions on how to attack the coronavirus if it is later exposed.
Studies show it’s COVID-19 – not vaccines – men need to worry
Early clinical trials for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines did not assess the impact of injections on fertility, but early studies show vaccines are not a cause for concern for men hoping to start or expand families. .
A team from the University of Miami analyzed the semen of 45 healthy men between the ages of 18 and 35 before and after receiving the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Sperm count – the most effective way to measure male fertility – did not decrease after vaccination, even in eight men who had low sperm counts before their first dose, the Miami Herald reported.
Researchers at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine investigated 185 scientific articles on the subject and also found no evidence that the injections caused male infertility.
The group released a joint statement with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in February that encouraged people planning to have babies to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“We assure patients that there is no evidence that the vaccine can cause loss of fertility … no loss of fertility has been reported among trial participants or among the millions of people who have. received the vaccines since they were cleared, and no signs of infertility have appeared in animal studies, “the groups said.” Loss of fertility is scientifically unlikely. “
Another source of misinformation comes from the well-known fact that fevers, a common side effect of COVID-19 vaccines, can cause temporary drops in sperm production. But experts say fever alone cannot interfere with a male’s reproductive success.
“If a man experiences a fever as a result of the COVID-19 vaccine, he may experience a temporary drop in sperm production, but this would be similar or less than if the individual had a fever developing COVID-19 or for other reasons, ”said the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. “The COVID-19 vaccine should not be refused to men who want fertility. ”
In analyzing 185 articles on the subject, researchers found 76 that found that COVID-19 itself could impact male fertility.
Some studies show that the coronavirus can make its way into semen, impact male hormones needed for normal sperm production, trigger testicular or scrotal pain, and cause erectile dysfunction.
Doctors believe the male testes are targeted because they have “almost the highest level” of expression of ACE2 – a protein that the coronavirus attaches to to infect people – of all tissues in the body, according to the doctor. Houston Methodist urologist Dr. Nathan Starke.
In fact, several other viruses such as Ebola, Zika, herpes simplex, HIV, mumps and Epstein-Barr, are known to cause temporary or permanent fertility problems, Starke added.
“COVID-19 can be a huge, potentially fatal and long-lasting stressor on the body – including, yes, the gonads. In this pandemic, just being a man is a factor that puts you at a higher risk of poor results, ”the Houston Methodist blog said. “Male fertility and virility are personal issues, and doctors hope that raising awareness of their relationship to COVID-19 disease can help draw more attention to the great risks of infection and the vaccine’s protective benefits. “