As science has proven time and again, the benefits of vaccines can't be underestimated. While there is often debates surroundings possible side effects of vaccinations, new research has shown that one life-saving vaccine won't hurt your child's fertility later in life, which has been cited as a concern from parents. Specifically, the HPV vaccine — which provides protection from human papilloma virus, the most commonly sexually transmitted infection in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection — does not have a negative impact on its recipients' future fertility.
HPV is a group of more than 150 related viruses, some of which can lead to cancer in both men and women, according to the CDC. HPV is transmitted through sex. The infection can cause penile cancer in men, according to the CDC, and in women it can cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. But there are vaccinations, like Gardasil and Cervarix, to protect against these diseases.
A new study, published this month in Pediatrics, found that young girls and women who receive the vaccination for HPV do not have an increased risk for pre-mature menopause, or primary ovarian insufficiency (POI), which could lead to a woman's ovaries to stop functioning before the age of 40, according to the CDC.
This research is certainly beneficial to know, especially because parents have cited being concerned with their daughters' future fertility as a reason for them to not get their kids vaccinated for HPV, according to Science Daily.
This new research builds on findings from the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which have not found any proof that HPV vaccines cause pre-mature menopause.
If this isn't convincing enough, consider the newest study's findings, which only found one small link between POI and the HPV vaccine. Researchers studied nearly 200,000 young women between the age of 11 and 34 between 2006 and 2014, according to Science Daily. Out of the women studied, 58,000 of them had received the HPV vaccine at some point in time, and only one of them "possibly" had symptoms of POI.
Dr. Allison Naleway, lead author and investigator of the study with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon explained why this study was so important in a press release:
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.
"If POI is triggered by the HPV vaccine or another adolescent vaccine, we would have seen a higher incidence in the younger women who were most likely to be vaccinated," Naleway went on to explain in the same press release.
This is important information to know, since the HPV vaccine is an elective vaccine. It's typically given to all pre-teens of all sexes ages 11 to 12 in two doses, six to 12 months apart, according to the CDC. But people well past their pre-teens can still get the vaccine. Women through the age of 26 who have not gotten the vaccine are recommended to do so, as advised by the CDC.
The HPV vaccine can be life-saving. Gardasil and Cervarix, were found to provide nearly 100 percent protection against cervical infections, according to the National Cancer Institute. Every year, HPV causes nearly 32,500 cancers in both men and women in the United States, according to the CDC. What's more, nearly 3,000 people in the United States die from cervical cancer, caused by HPV, each year, according to PBS.
Parents who were previously apprehensive about the HPV vaccine should find comfort in this study's findings. Considering the benefits of the vaccine and the protection is provides, it's not one to skip out on.