HPV as the most common sexually transmitted disease among people, especially the U.S. population, has had various effects. Some of these effects include genital warts, cancers, losing confidence, etc. In most cases, even the effects of the HPV virus on males and females occur differently. Accordingly, most people want to know if HPV can affect infertility, or even pregnant women are concerned if HPV affects pregnancy or their baby in any way. These concerns are why many caring people around the globe are trying to protect themselves and their partners by getting the vaccine; still, the rumors about infertility side effects of the HPV vaccine have been a big question for almost everyone, especially those who want to be vaccinated. This is why we will answer and discuss these questions, especially if HPV affects infertility. Hopefully, with the help of awareness, all people will protect themselves against HPV.
HPV Effects on Fertility
Since the HPV virus is incurable and widespread worldwide, HPV’s effects on fertility have concerned most adults and sexually active people. Also, the fact that more than 80 percent of people get this virus at some point has worried many people about their future as a mother or fathers. Fortunately, studies have shown that HPV or Human Papillomavirus will not affect the ability of fertility or pregnancy. Still, HPV affects fertility or, more generally, people’s health in other ways in some cases. Considering that this infection is transmitted through sexual activity and engages the genital or sexual parts, its harms or effects on any of the genders may be different. This makes it necessary to discuss how HPV affects female and male fertility separately.
Effects on Female fertility
Usually, since women are the ones who are going to get pregnant and have the delivery, they are more worried about HPV’s effects on fertility. Generally, HPV infections in women can occur in different ways, from genital warts to cervical or vagina cancers. In addition, these HPV effects can be with symptoms such as pimple-like warts or without any symptoms. Although this STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) can be transmitted even when symptoms haven’t occurred, the chance of transmitting while having symptoms is higher. After that, HPV effects on women may differ depending on factors such as the type or strain of the HPV. For example, cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers among females, and it can be caused by 13 types of HPV, including the 16 and 18 strains. Though this cancer is curable, specific treatments, especially uterus removal, may end in infertility. This is one of the ways that Human Papillomavirus or HPV affects infertility in women indirectly.
On the other hand, although a lot of HPV infections go away on their own, some of them, as sexually transmitted diseases, might raise the chance of infertility in women. However, this would not happen in every woman with an infection, so the answer to “Can HPV affect infertility in women?” is that it cannot, but if this infection ends in cervical cancer, it would be possible. Therefore, this makes the HPV vaccine the best way to prevent HPV, genital warts, cervical cancer, and infertility caused by it.
Effects on Male Fertility
Even though the HPV virus and certain types of its strains are the main reason for cervical cancer in females, this sexually transmitted infection is more common among males, resulting in more HPV effects on this gender. Therefore, this disease does not have any symptoms in males in most cases, and the chances of HPV’s effects on fertility for men are higher, making it a risk for their ability to conceive children. In general, Human Papillomavirus is considered one of the risk factors which may cause infertility in males by decreasing sperm PR, and HPV affects fertility in men by hurting their sperm. Fortunately, the HPV strains that may cause male infertility, including HPV 16, 18, 59, 52, and 45, can be prevented by vaccination if not infected yet.
HPV Vaccine and infertility
Since studies on men and women have shown that HPV affects infertility indirectly in some instances, many people, mainly sexually active ones, are trying to protect themselves by getting the vaccines. Still, rumors about the infertility side effects of HPV vaccines have kept them from being vaccinated. In other words, they are worried that the vaccine will worsen the HPV effects on fertility. This is why awareness about the role of HPV vaccines in global health is essential, and people need to know that not only the infertility side effects of the HPV vaccine are not real, but this vaccine will prevent fertility problems by protecting women against cervical cancer. In short, according to tests and research, HPV-qualified and licensed vaccines such as Cervarix are safe to use and will not cause any fertility problems.
HPV and Pregnancy
Many women around the world find out that they have HPV while they are pregnant or even get pregnant while they have HPV. So, it is normal for them to worry about their child’s health, and they want to know if this infection will affect their infants in any way. The good news is that there are no reports about HPV’s effects on pregnancy, and it will not harm the baby, especially the low-risk HPV or genital warts. Fortunately, women infected by this disease have had successful deliveries, and the possibility of transmitting the virus to the baby during delivery and the child’s birth is very limited; even if this happens, the baby’s body will destroy the virus on its own. Still, there are some risk factors for getting pregnant while infected by Human Papillomavirus, which are mentioned in the following.
HPV Pregnancy Risk Factors
The crucial thing to know is that if you have, or have had, HPV virus before or during pregnancy, it is necessary to let your doctor and health care provider know so you and your baby would be safe from any risk. In this way, they may remove genital warts before delivery. However, some of the rare and unique HPV pregnancy risk factors include these instances:
- There are some low risks for a child’s birth if Human Papillomavirus infects the mother, so it is crucial to do the Pap smear tests regularly.
- In some rare cases, HPV or genital warts might block the delivery canal.
- Since HPV affects infertility by cervical cancer, it can also end in being unable to get pregnant because of the cancer treatments.
- The low quality of sperm caused by the HPV virus in males can end in difficulty in pregnancy in females.
As a result, if you are worried about pregnancy risk factors of HPV, you should talk to your doctor or health care provider, and if you are not infected or pregnant, the HPV vaccine is the best option.
HPV Vaccine for Pregnant women
Some pregnant women want to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their babies during pregnancy, but this is not recommended for them. According to some research, the HPV vaccine for pregnant women may cause problems such as preterm delivery. However, this is not confirmed yet, and reliable analysis and studies haven’t included this area until today. So, in order to avoid any HPV vaccine effects on pregnancy or the baby, you should not get any HPV vaccine doses. Instead, the best thing to do for pregnant women is to wait until they deliver the baby safely and healthily; then, they can get the HPV vaccine without any concerns or problems.
Simply put, the HPV vaccines are the best prevention and immunization against HPV effects on fertility and cervical cancers. This vaccine will provide immunity for the most dangerous strains, especially those causing cancer and genital warts. Still, it should be noted that this vaccine will not provide immunity against all strains, but only the ones causing cancer and ending fertility problems. In addition, the HPV vaccine is recommended at the age of 11 and 12 before the start of sexual activity. Though not recommended for ages over 26, some people decide to get vaccinated after talking to a doctor to be immune from HPV’s effects on fertility and pregnancy. They can get one of the Gardasil, Gardasil 9, or Cervarix vaccines, and if these options are not affordable for them, the biosimilar HPV vaccines with the same quality but much lower costs are available for everyone. These vaccines are being produced by qualified and experienced companies such as Opal Biopharma.
“Can HPV affect infertility?” has been a concern for people, mainly those infected by the virus, and they are wondering if there are any HPV effects on fertility or even want to know about HPV vaccine side effects on infertility. The answer is HPV will not affect the ability to conceive directly, but it may affect it indirectly by causing cervical cancer and lowering the quality of sperm. There is not any evidence of HPV vaccine side effects on infertility, and still, pregnant women should not get vaccinated until they deliver their babies. On the other hand, it is unlikely that HPV affects pregnancy, but in some cases, genital warts can be transmitted to the infant, so warts removal before birth will be necessary. These risk factors should be discussed with the doctor or health care provider, so there will not be any danger to the baby or the mother. Therefore, vaccination at the right time is the best way to avoid these problems.