Vaccination Recommendations for Infertility Patients

Patients often ask me about the safety of vaccinations prior to fertility treatment or during pregnancy and I just wanted to write a few lines on that subject.
It is recommended that vaccinations should be administered before becoming pregnant since it can protect women from serious illness during pregnancy, prevent transmission of disease to the fetus and also confer passive immunity to the newborn baby. As fertility doctors, we are in a unique position to make sure our patients are up to date on their vaccinations prior to pregnancy.

It is recommended that vaccinations should be administered before becoming pregnant since it can protect women from serious illness during pregnancy

During the fertility evaluation at Dominion Fertility, we routinely evaluate our patients for immunity to Rubella (German measles) and Varicella (chickenpox) since the vaccines for these diseases are not safe in pregnancy and need to be administered prior to conceiving. Pregnancy should be avoided for 1 month after those vaccinations. If a woman were to contract German measles or chickenpox during pregnancy, the fetus could be severely harmed. So, it’s imperative that women are protected against those diseases prior to pregnancy.

Pregnancy should be avoided for 1 month after those vaccinations.

Other routine vaccinations that should be considered updating before pregnancy are the Tetanus-Diphtheria (Td) or Tetanus-Diphtheria-Pertussis (Tdap) vaccine. Usually one or the other is given but not both. While it’s best to have these vaccine done prior to pregnancy, if need be, the Td vaccine can be given during pregnancy as can the Tdap. However, the Tdap should be given preferably during the late second trimester or third trimester.
As for the influenza vaccine, the injectable influenza vaccine can be administered any time during pregnancy, while the intranasal influenza vaccine should not be given during pregnancy. Vaccinations such as Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Meningococcus are only given in specific situations/high risk situations and should best be administered prior to becoming pregnant.
So, talk to your fertility specialist about your vaccinations to make sure they are up to date since they will help keep you and the baby healthy.

References:
Vaccination Guidelines for female infertility patients: a committee opinion. Fertility and Sterility. Vol. 99, No. 2. February 2013.

– Dr. Sarajari

photo credit: American Pregnancy Association