No scientific data supports this idea, although there are conflicting opinions.
Not only has insecurity been created in women by assuming that vaccines cause sterility, but also the negative effects it causes on the ability to reproduce in men. Photo: Pexels
LatinAmerican Post | Moisés Campos
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One of the arguments that has been extended for not applying the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine is that it produces sterility and people who claim to have confirming evidence can be found on social networks. This claim, like many that are circulating, have no foundation whatsoever .
COVID-19 vaccines do not cause sterility
The reason why the vaccine causes sterility, according to those who support this idea, is that the antibodies generated by the vaccine - specifically those that are based on the messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) of the pharmaceutical companies BioNTech, Pfizer and Moderna - do not attack only to the virus, but also destroys a protein that is essential in the process of formation of the placenta .
When receiving this vaccine, it is intended that some cells in the body produce a protein called spike, which has a similar structure to that of the virus, to provoke an immune response. This response causes the necessary antibodies to be generated to fight the viral protein. Those who defend the idea that the vaccine causes sterility affirm that the antibodies that are produced act on the protein that is part of the formation process of the placenta, syncytin-1, whose function is to prevent the fetus to be rejected by the mother´s body when considering it a foreign element.
Udo Markert (director of the Placental Physiology Laboratory of the University Hospital of Jena and president of the European Society for Reproductive Immunology) explains in a paper made in collaboration with Ekkerhard Schleußner (director of the Maternity Clinic of the University of Jena and vice president of the German Society of Perinatal Medicine) that if this statement is correct, COVID-19 can also cause sterility.
These two researchers argue that these types of claims that have been spread and that have a large number of advocates are totally false. In addition, they recommend that women get vaccinated against the coronavirus without fear of these alleged consequences, since not getting vaccinated implies a greater risk to health, and this has been demonstrated.
They also do not cause male sterility.
Not only the rumor has created insecurity in women by assuming that vaccines cause sterility, but it has also created Fake News of the negative effects it causes on the ability to reproduce in men. It has become a topic that has spread very quickly among users of social networks.
Daniel Nassau, urologist, is one of the authors of an American study in which the sperm of 45 men was analyzed, in samples taken before and after having been vaccinated with one of the vaccines with mRNA technology. The results showed that these vaccines do not affect reproductive health in men in any way, since it was not possible to verify that they had a negative effect on sperm. It states that, if a similar study is carried out in a larger number of subjects, the results do not show significant variations.
The consequences of contagion by not getting vaccinated are worse
As a way to deal with this type of rumor that seeks to prevent people from getting vaccinated, Ranjith Ramasamy, a professor of Urology at the University of Miami and who participated in the same study as Nassau, made a wake-up call in an article published in The Conversation, reporting on the risks of a coronavirus infection.
He reiterates that none of the vaccines being used against this virus can cause sterility, nor can they cause infertility or erectile dysfunction, and even states that getting sick from the virus does increase the risk of these conditions. This statement is based on the results obtained in a previous study, carried out by the researcher and his team, in which they found the virus in the testicles of a man who died of coronavirus. And according to the results obtained in the study, it could also be seen that the virus affects both sperm production and fertility, also causing erectile dysfunction to occur.
Covid-19 and erectile dysfunction
Ranjith Ramasamy and her team also discovered that a coronavirus infection can negatively affect the male sex organ. They performed an analysis of the tissue of this organ from two men who had received penile implants, and the results showed that the virus was still present, despite having passed between seven and nine months after they were diagnosed with COVID-19. The two men were having a severe case of erectile dysfunction, probably caused by the virus reducing the blood supply to this organ.
One of the men who participated in this study only had very mild symptoms of the infection, while the other had to be hospitalized. This leads researchers to determine that even with a mild case of coronavirus, severe erectile dysfunction can occur after recovery.
For the researcher, this result has nothing in particular, since there are other viruses, such as mumps and Zika, which also cause the testicles to swell, thus affecting fertility. The researcher concludes that the risks of infertility or erection problems increase when the infection caused by the virus is severe. Nassau's final recommendation is that both men and women get vaccinated, to protect themselves from all the negative effects of the virus.
The studies that have been carried out regarding the supposed sterility caused by vaccines against the coronavirus, have caused many men and women to refuse to be vaccinated. However, in addition to all the effects caused by the virus, it has been shown that getting infected can affect reproductive health in men and women.