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Study: COVID Infection Does Not Affect Fertility or IVF Treatment

Couple holding a pregnancy test.

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Key Takeaways

  • A new, small study found that a woman’s ovarian reserve was the same or similar after having COVID-19.
  • These findings help ease concerns that COVID-19 could possibly impact a woman’s egg count.
  • Experts say the results are promising for couples interested in conceiving after COVID-19.

Previous COVID-19 infection does not seem to impact a woman’s chance of success with assisted reproductive technology, according to new research. The study is small but helps ease some concerns about the virus’ impact on fertility.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from 46 patients undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) who had baseline measurements of anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) that suggested they would be normal or low responders to ovarian stimulation.

What Is the Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH)?

AMH is a marker of a woman’s ovarian reserve (i.e., egg count) and is often used in fertility clinics to predict how women might do with ovarian stimulation during IVF.

In general, the data showed no difference in AMH levels before and after a woman became infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The results did show a slight decline in AMH measurements in some patients who were predicted to be normal responders to ovarian stimulation.

However, one of the study's researchers Maria Cruz Palomino, PhD, from the IVI Madrid fertility clinic, said in a press release that this was not a “radical decrease,” and it shouldn’t impact a patient’s ability to produce eggs for IVF. It’s also difficult to directly link this drop to having COVID-19.

“Generally, the data showed no variation in AMH levels before and after SARS-CoV-2 infection," Palomino said. "We could assume that the chances of success in…fertility treatment remained intact.”

The study’s results were presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology’s annual meeting in late June. 

What This Means For You

If you’re trying to conceive after a previous COVID-19 infection, your fertility should be the same or similar as it was before you were infected. However, talk to your a healthcare provider if you have any concerns or if you’re having trouble conceiving.

COVID-19 Infection Does Not Impact Fertility

Concerns about COVID-19's ability to impact fertility have circled widely. Some thought it might be possible because the virus invades cells by binding to the ACE2 receptor, which is found in the ovaries, uterus, vagina, and placenta.

“Because the receptor for the virus is present in the ovaries, there was some biological possibility that ovarian reserve could be impacted,” Amesh A. Adalja, MD, infectious disease expert and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, tells Verywell. However, he says, this study and others like it suggest that doesn’t happen.

While COVID-19’s impact on fertility hasn’t been widely researched, a study from Wuhan, China, published in the journal Reproductive Biomedicine Online reported similar results. That study analyzed data from 237 women of childbearing age who were diagnosed with COVID-19 by testing blood for sex hormones and AMH. It also studied menstrual data from 177 patients.

Researchers discovered that 25% of patients experienced changes in the volume of their periods, with 20% having lighter periods than before. But the average sex hormone and AMH concentrations of women who had COVID-19 were no different from women of the same age who didn’t get infected.

Women’s health expert Jennifer Wider, MD, tells Verywell that the findings are “reassuring.”

“We are learning more and more about COVID-19 every day,” Wider says. “Remember: This disease is relatively new and some of the effects of the virus, including its long-term, chronic symptoms, are being uncovered by the multitude of global studies from patients around the world.”

Respiratory viruses in general “are unlikely to have any impact on fertility, and this is what appears to be the case with COVID-19,” Adalja adds.

Overall, experts say that couples who are trying to conceive after having COVID-19 should move forward with their plans. “Women should not worry about having COVID-19 when trying to conceive,” Wider says. “It has not been shown to have a negative effect on egg count.”

The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means newer information may be available when you read this. For the most recent updates on COVID-19, visit our coronavirus news page.

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  1. European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. Previous infection with COVID-19 does not affect the chance of success in IVF. June 28, 2021.

  2. Li K, Chen G, Hou H, et al. Analysis of sex hormones and menstruation in COVID-19 women of child-bearing ageReprod Biomedicine Online. 2021 Jan;42(1):260-267. doi:10.1016/j.rbmo.2020.09.020.