HPV Vaccination May Protect Fertility for Some Women

Females with a history of STIs or PID who were vaccinated demonstrated higher fecundability
Females with a history of STIs or PID who were vaccinated demonstrated higher fecundability

Although the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine had little impact on the chances of conception among females overall, it did have a positive effect on fertility among those with a history of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), according to a prospective study published in Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology.

While previous literature has indicated an association between HPV infection and reduced semen quality as well as pregnancy rates, "no studies have examined the relationship between HPV vaccination and fecundability," noted lead author Kathryn A. McInerney, a Boston University School of Public Health doctoral candidate. 

Using data from the Pregnancy Study Online (PRSTO) cohort between 2013 and 2017, McInerney and her colleagues examined whether HPV vaccination could protect fertility. A total of 3,483 female pregnancy planners and 1,022 of their male partners aged 21–45 years were followed for 1 year or until pregnancy, whichever came first. 

Fecundability ratios (FR) and confidence intervals (CI) were calculated using models adjusted for smoking, abnormal Pap test pre-HPV vaccination, and sociodemographics.

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HPV vaccination was more common among females than males (33.9% vs. 5.2%). The data indicated little association between vaccination in females (FR 0.98, 95% CI: 0.90, 1.08) or males (FR 1.07, 95% CI: 0.79, 1.46) and fecundability. 

However, females with a history of STIs or pelvic inflammatory disease who were vaccinated demonstrated higher fecundability vs. those who were not vaccinated (FR 1.35, 95% CI: 0.99, 1.86). 

McInerney added, "Our study should reassure those who are hesitant to vaccinate due to fertility concerns." 

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