IFLG-Reproductive-Medical-Doctors-Advise-COVID-19-Vaccination-for-Pregnant-Women-Rich-Vaughn5

Reproductive Medical Doctors Advise COVID-19 Vaccination for Pregnant Women

In this pandemic season of uncertainty and fear, images from around the world of the first health care workers and elderly people being vaccinated has brought hope to many hearts that we may finally bring the COVD-19 pandemic under control and get back to a more normal way of life.

But for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, or intended parents who are trying to conceive, the question of whether or not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine comes with an additional set of considerations and concerns that most of us don’t have to think about: Is the vaccine safe for my health during pregnancy, for my baby, or for the baby I am hoping to conceive?

The good news for the New Year is that the reproductive medicine experts of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) concur: In most cases, women who are pregnant, breast feeding or who are currently trying to become pregnant should get vaccinated, according to the organization’s most recent update on the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on conception and pregnancy.  

Disclaimer: IFLG is not a medical provider, and all individuals are urged to consult with their personal physycians when making decisions about vaccination or any other medical issues.

COVID-19 Vaccines Offer Protection for Pregnant Women and Their Families

Although some people remain distrustful of two new vaccines that have thus far received FDA Emergency Use Authorization, recent polls indicate a growing number of Americans are ready and willing to receive the vaccines. Epidemiologists such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, estimate that some 75 percent to 85 percent of Americans must be immunized in order for the country to achieve “blanket” or “herd immunity” protection from COVID-19 outbreaks. “If you have a highly efficacious vaccine, and only 50 percent of the country gets vaccinated, you’re not going to have that umbrella of protection of herd immunity,” Fauci said in a Facebook Live discussion on November 30.

Released on December 16, 2020, the latest guidance from the Coronavirus/COVID-19 Task Force of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine is provided as a service to ASRM members, physicians and their patients and comes with the caveat that clinicians should act based on their own best judgement and the unique needs of each patient.

Here is a summary of recommendations from the task force update:

Do not withhold the COVID-19 vaccine due to pregnancy.

The Task Force does not recommend withholding the COVID-19 vaccine from patients who are planning to conceive, are currently pregnant, or are breastfeeding—in agreement with the guidance from other professional healthcare associations.

Pregnant women should take the COVID-19 vaccine when they are eligible to do so.

Patients undergoing fertility treatment and pregnant patients should be encouraged to receive vaccination based on eligibility criteria, such as front-line employment, age and pre-existing health conditions. Since the vaccine is not a live virus, there is no reason to delay pregnancy attempts because of vaccination administration or to defer treatment until the second dose has been administered.

The decision whether to be vaccinated for COVID-19 should be between patient and doctor.

The decision of whether or not a patient should be vaccinated should be made by the patient and her doctor, keeping in mind the “ethical principles of autonomy, beneficence, and non-maleficence.”

Doctors and patients should make decisions about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine based on all relevant risk factors and local conditions.

Patients and their doctors should assess several factors in making a decision on receiving the vaccine, including local COVID-19 transmission risk, personal factors that increase risk of contracting the disease, potential health risks of either patient or fetus contracting COVID-19, efficacy of the vaccine and known side effects, and the fact that there is little data available about the effect of the vaccine during pregnancy.

Pregnancy is a risk factor for severe COVID-19 disease.

Recent studies have suggested that women who are pregnant are at higher risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19 disease, even more so for patients with conditions such as obesity, hypertension or diabetes. This heightened risk of severe illness should be a consideration in weighing the protective benefits of vaccination.

COVID-19 mRNA vaccines do not carry the risks to reproductive health of “live virus” vaccines.

mRNA vaccines such as the two currently authorized for emergency use in the United States do not contain live virus, avoiding many of the potential risks of a “live” vaccine, such as infertility, miscarriage or congenital anomalies.

People who are prone to severe allergic reactions should take extra precautions such as close monitoring when receiving one of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Specifically, according to the report, a lipid nanoparticle used in the Pfizer vaccine and commonly used in other injectable medicines can trigger a rare allergic reaction in some individuals. “Consequently, caution is advised when administering the vaccine to those individuals who have experienced severe allergic reactions to prior vaccines or injectable drugs,” the update concludes.

COVID-19 vaccines currently in use were not tested on pregnant women.

While the overwhelming consensus of the ASRM task force members and other reproductive health professionals is that the protective benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines for women who are pregnant or trying to conceive outweigh the risks of getting the vaccine, the vaccines were not tested on pregnant and lactating women during initial phase III clinical trials. For that reason, the report emphasizes that women, intended parents and their doctors should carefully weigh the risks of receiving the vaccine against the risks to patient, baby and family of remaining unprotected.

As all of us prepare to celebrate the New Year with the excitement of vaccines we hope will make it possible for us to safely gather again with family and friends, it’s also important not to let down our guards too soon. Even with a fast and efficient rollout of the two existing vaccines and others on the horizon, the logistics of getting enough people vaccinated to provide widespread protection in the United States mean we must continue safe practices to continue protecting one another for the next several months.

There is still a lot we don’t know about the vaccines’ effectiveness and the extent of the protection they provide. As the ASRM update reminds us, “1) it is not yet known whether a vaccinated individual can spread the virus if they become infected with SARS-COV-2 [COVID-19]; 2) protective immunity against COVID-19 takes time to develop; and 3) although a two-dose regimen of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 95% effective against the development of COVID-19, it does not confer 100% immunity.”

So in the spirit of taking ASRM’s advice to heart, our IFLG team of assisted reproduction attorneys and legal professionals wishes you a 2021 filled with health, happiness and the ability to safely hold your loved ones close once again, even as we urge you all, for just a little while longer: Wear a mask, wash your hands, stay 6 feet apart. Keep your loved ones safe by staying home.

If you are considering becoming a parent using assisted reproductive technology, contact us today! Our team of experienced ART attorneys and paralegals can answer all your questions about how to legally protect your family. We look forward to seeing you in 2021 and beyond!

 

 

Richard Vaughn
rich@iflg.net

Attorney Rich Vaughn is founder and principal of International Fertility Law Group, one of the world’s largest and best-known law firms focused exclusively on assisted reproductive technology, or ART, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), surrogacy, sperm donation or egg donation. Rich is co-author of the book “Developing A Successful Assisted Reproduction Technology Law Practice,” American Bar Association Publishing, 2017.

Peiya Wang
PEIYA WANG(王培娅)
Paralegal (律师助理)

Peiya Wang joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2015, where she manages surrogacy, egg donation and parental establishment cases and provides translation services for many of IFLG’s international clients. Peiya moved to the United States in 2012 to attend Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, receiving a Master of Science degree in Global Studies and International Affairs in 2014. Peiya moved to Los Angeles in 2015, received her paralegal certification from UCLA Extension, and obtained her second Master of Science degree in Legal Studies from Loyola Law School. Peiya relocated back to her hometown, Beijing, China in 2019 and works from IFLG’s Beijing office. When away from the office, Peiya is a dragon boat paddler and a ballroom dancer, where she favors Rumbas and Cha-chas. She is fluent in Mandarin and English.

Katie Deaquino
KATIE DEAQUINO
Senior Paralegal

Katie is a Senior Paralegal with IFLG and has dedicated over sixteen years to the areas of surrogacy and reproductive law. She received her Paralegal Certificate from Coastline Community College and has worked with some of the top law firms in the assisted reproduction community. Katie is also a commissioned Notary Public. With IFLG, Katie manages Surrogacy, Egg Donation, and Parental Establishment cases and provides support to other IFLG team members. Katie truly enjoys helping others build their families through assisted reproduction and is thankful she has had the rewarding experience of assisting IFLG clients. Katie often spends her free time with her Husband, four young children and her bulldog “Bella”.

Luis Sosa
LUIS SOSA
Paralegal

Luis R. Sosa joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2016, where he enjoys pursuing his passion for family and reproductive law. While working toward his bachelor’s degree at Florida International University which he received in 2013, Luis worked as a paralegal and legal assistant for family law litigation firms in Miami and Washington, D.C. As a paralegal and case manager for IFLG, Luis, who is bilingual in English and Spanish, manages surrogacy, egg donation and other reproductive law cases. Luis has worked for IFLG in both Los Angeles as well as San Francisco, and is currently based in Dallas, Texas. In addition to spending time with husband Randy and dog Marty, Luis enjoys being outdoors and appreciating the arts.

Alexander Espinoza
ALEXANDER ESPINOZA
Legal Assistant

Alexander joined IFLG as a legal assistant in 2019, where he manages surrogacy, egg donation and parental establishment cases. Alex is bilingual in English and Spanish and has been in the legal field for 23 years. Alex is excited to join the IFLG team and pursuing his will to help others in the reproductive law process. In his spare time he loves spending time with his family and friends, being outdoors, road trips, loves music and dancing.

Toni Hughes
TONI BOONE
Paralegal

After receiving her B.S. in Business Management, Toni joined IFLG to pursue her dream of working in the legal field. As a Paralegal with over 10 years of experience in the assisted reproduction technology field, Toni is our Managing Paralegal, responsible for training and managing our paralegal staff. From drafting legal documents to assisting our clients with post-birth matters, Toni embraces the challenge of learning something new in this field each day. Besides spending time with her son, Jordan, Toni enjoys exploring new things, cooking, spending time with family and friends, and serving as a Youth Advisor for “Next Generation.”

Miesha Cowart
MIESHA COWART
Financial Coordinator

Miesha Cowart joined IFLG as a financial specialist in 2014 following a successful career in development and business finance. Miesha previously worked for 10 years in the construction industry as a controller and for 13 years as Development Coordinator for the non-profit U.S. Fund for UNICEF. In her free time, Miesha works with “Next Generation” at her church. “They are my heartbeats!” she says of the youth in her community.

KIM DEVEREAUX
Paralegal

Kim has over 30 years of experience in the legal field and has worked exclusively in surrogacy and assisted reproduction law since 1999. Kim is a senior case manager responsible for managing parental establishment cases and interacting with IFLG’s Of Counsel attorneys across the country. With three children of her own, Kim understands the importance of family and finds working in this area of law a rewarding experience.

Rich Vaughn
RICHARD B. VAUGHN
Founder

Attorney Rich Vaughn combined his personal passion as a father of twin boys born via assisted reproductive technology (ART) with more than 20 years of experience in business and technology law to build International Fertility Law Group. Today IFLG is one of the most successful and best-known law firms in the world focused exclusively on fertility law, helping thousands of intended parents through empathetic listening, compassionate guidance, and unmatched legal expertise. As an advocate for reproductive freedom, Rich also contributes his knowledge and time to improving the understanding and practice of ART law, most recently as a founder of and speaker at the first Cambridge University International Surrogacy Symposium held in June 2019, as immediate past chair of the American Bar Association ART Committee, and as a popular presenter to law schools, faculty and advocacy organizations all over the world.

Elizabeth Tamayo
ELIZABETH TAMAYO
Paralegal

Elizabeth received her Bachelors of Science degree in Criminal Justice from California State University of Los Angeles. Shortly after graduating, she continued her education at the University of California, Los Angeles where she obtained her Paralegal certificate. Elizabeth is fluent in Spanish and has been in the legal field since 2009. She is excited to be a part of the IFLG Team helping families realize their dreams.

Sunny Chien
SUNNY CHIEN
Paralegal

Sunny joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2017, where she manages surrogacy, egg donation and parental establishment cases for many of IFLG’s international clients. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from California State University of Los Angeles, where she graduated cum laude. Sunny is bilingual in English and Mandarin and has extensive experience as a legal assistant and paralegal at Los Angeles-area law firms. She is excited to be part of the IFLG team. In her spare time, Sunny enjoys spending time with her family and their dog, going to the beach, cooking, and being outdoors.

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Phone:  +1 323 331 9343

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Phone:  +1 844 400 2016

Email:  info@iflg.net

Website:  www.iflg.net

Molly O'Brien
MOLLY O'BRIEN
Partner

Fertility law attorney Molly O’Brien began working in the field of assisted reproduction technology (ART) in 2005, at an egg donation agency and a surrogacy agency where she became familiar with all aspects of in-vitro fertilization, egg donation and the financial aspects of surrogacy. Since becoming an attorney in 2011, Molly has drafted and negotiated surrogacy, egg donation, sperm donation embryo donation agreements for hundreds of her clients all over the world.

Phoebe Sadler
PHOEBE S. SADLER
Associate

Fertility law attorney Phoebe Sadler has a background in family law and has been practicing exclusively in the area of assisted reproduction technology (ART) law since 2018.

Rubina Aslanyan
RUBINA ASLANYAN
Paralegal

Rubina has an extensive background in the legal field as a paralegal in Family Law and has worked in surrogacy and assisted reproduction law since 2012. Her area of focus is in managing and assisting clients with surrogacy, egg donation, and parental establishment cases for many of IFLG’s domestic and international clients. During her spare time, Rubina enjoys spending time with her family and dog Bella, traveling and cooking.

Cara Stecker
CARA STECKER
Senior Paralegal

After receiving her paralegal certificate in 2005, Cara began working in assisted reproductive law. During the fifteen years Cara has worked in this field, she has gained a wide range of experience and knowledge that she uses to help better assist clients and those involved in the assisted reproductive journey. Cara’s primary roles involve managing parental establishment matters and coordination with IFLG’s Of Counsel attorney network, drafting contracts and parental establishment court documents and providing support to other team members. Cara finds great joy in being a small part of a team of caring people who help others achieve their dream of having a family. In her spare time, Cara enjoys spending time with her husband and three children, watching her children play the sports they love, and she enjoys, running, cycling and exploring the outdoors in the sun.

Stephanie Kimble
STEPHANIE KIMBLE
Paralegal

Stephanie received her BS in History and Political Thought from Concordia University Irvine in 2015 and her Paralegal Certificate from University of San Diego later that same year. She has been working as a Paralegal since 2016 in Family and Reproductive Law. She is excited to be part of International Fertility Law Group working on managing Surrogacy, Egg donation and Parental Establishment Cases.

Trish Pittman
TRISH PITTMAN
Assistant Financial Coordinator

With more than 20 years of experience in the field of accounting, Trish joined the IFLG team in 2019 as Assistant Financial Coordinator. Her client-facing focus at IFLG is to assist with all client trust accounting. Trish is the mother of two daughters and enjoys spending time teaching and learning new things from them. In her free time, she loves long walks in the park and reading suspense and mystery novels.

Elsa Jimenez
ELSA JIMENEZ
Legal Assistant

Elsa joined IFLG as a Legal Assistant in 2019, bringing more than 35 years of experience working in the legal profession (concentrating in tort and litigation matters). At IFLG she assists surrogates with their surrogacy and parental matters. The oldest of five siblings, born and raised in East Los Angeles to Mexican immigrant parents, Elsa loves “seeing the beauty of families forming” through assisted reproductive technology. She and her husband Carlos have four children and one grandson. Elsa enjoys jazz and ’80s music, being outdoors in nature, collecting teacups and tea pots, and spending time with her close-knit family.