Background: Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines have been recommended as primary prevention of HPV-related cancers for over 10 years in the United States, and evidence reveals decreased incidence of HPV infections following vaccination. However, concerns have been raised that HPV vaccines could decrease fertility. This study examined the relationship between HPV immunization and self-reported infertility in a nationally representative sample.
Methods: Data from the 2013-2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were analyzed to assess likelihood of self-reported infertility among women aged 20 to 33, who were young enough to have been offered HPV vaccines and old enough to have been queried about infertility (n = 1114). Two logistic regression models, stratified by marital history, examined potential associations between HPV vaccination and infertility. Model 1 assessed the likelihood of infertility among women who had never been pregnant or whose pregnancies occurred prior to HPV vaccination. Model 2 accounted for the possibility of latent and/or non-permanent post-vaccine infertility by including all women 20-33 years old who reported any 12-month period of infertility.
Results: 8.1% reported any infertility. Neither model revealed any association between HPV vaccination at any age and self-reported infertility, regardless of marital status.
Conclusion: There was no evidence of increased infertility among women who received the HPV vaccine. These results provide further evidence of HPV vaccine safety and should give providers confidence in recommending HPV vaccination. Further research should explore protective effects of HPV vaccines on female and male fertility.
Keywords: Cancer; Fertility; Human papillomavirus; Reproductive health; Vaccine beliefs; Vaccines.
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