HPV Vaccine Does Not Hurt Future Fertility

HPV Vaccine Does Not Hurt Future Fertility

A new study of almost 200,000 young women shows that adolescents who receive recommended vaccinations, including the HPV vaccine, do not have an increased risk of primary ovarian insufficiency (POI).

The study, recently published in journal Pediatrics, looked at 199,078 females between 11 to 34 years old in the Northwest Kaiser Permanente system from August 2006 through the end of 2014.   The researchers followed these females until health plan disenrollment, their 35th birthday, or the end of the study period, whichever came first.  Women with a known cause of POI, such as a genetic condition, were excluded from the study.

During the study period, 119,078 females received Tdap vaccine, 84,783 received flu vaccine, 58,871 received HPV vaccine, and 46,231 received meningococcal conjugate vaccine.  None of the vaccines were found to be associated with an increased risk of POI.  Of the 58,871 females who received the HPV vaccine, only 1 was found to have possible symptoms of POI.

“Reports of premature menopause after HPV vaccination have received a lot of media attention, including on social media. However, these reports were based on a small number of isolated cases and must be interpreted with caution.  To bring clarity to this issue, we conducted a study of nearly 200,000 young women and found no elevated risk of POI after HPV or other recommended vaccinations, ” said lead study investigator Allison Naleway, PhD.

This study is very reassuring regarding the safety of vaccines for young women.  HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States and causes nearly 32,500 cancers in both men and women in the U.S. each year.  In addition, approximately 3,000 women die each year from HPV-related cervical cancer.

From the standpoint of a reproductive endocrinologist, I’m happy to see that there is more evidence to support the safety of the HPV vaccine.  I have seen and treated many women for fertility preservation after a diagnosis of cervical cancer. I hope that the HPV vaccine will spare women from having to deal with this in their futures.


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