Can HPV Vaccine Hurt Girls’ Fertility?

A recent report from WebMD says that HPV vaccination does not hurt teen girls’ future fertility according to a new study says.

Large studies have called the HPV (human papillomavirus) shot safe, but vaccination rates in the United States are lower than for other shots recommended for teens, such as tetanusdiphtheria-acellular pertussis (Tdap) and meningococcal conjugate.

Parents’ concerns about safety, including the impact on future fertility, are often linked to lower HPV vaccination rates.

“Reports of premature menopause [primary ovarian insufficiency, or POI] 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,” said study lead author Allison Naleway.

She’s an investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore.

Naleway and her team studied nearly 200,000 young women and said they found no elevated risk of POI after HPV or other recommended vaccinations.

Of close to 59,000 young women who received the HPV vaccine, only one later developed possible symptoms of POI, Naleway said.

“If POI is triggered by the HPV vaccine or another recommended adolescent vaccine, we would have expected to see higher incidence in the younger women who were most likely to be vaccinated. But we found no elevated risk for these individuals,” she said in a Kaiser Permanente news release.

Co-author Julianne Gee is an epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“While the safety of these vaccines is well-established, this important study offers additional population-based, scientific evidence that HPV and other adolescent vaccines do not negatively impact fertility in young women,” Gee said.

The study was published Aug. 21 in the journal Pediatrics.