By Caroline Lazarus

My husband and I are both schoolteachers, we are also 34 weeks pregnant.

Over the past year we’ve experienced a rollercoaster of emotions. Sadly, we had a traumatic miscarriage in 2020 when COVID-19 case numbers were first skyrocketing in Victoria.

We then embarked on our first-ever IVF cycle whilst navigating misinformation about the covid-19 vaccine when pregnant.

We first thought about getting the vaccine back in July 2021, when we were starting our first-ever IVF cycle. I had complex thoughts at the time; do I get vaccinated before I become pregnant?

I knew that getting the vaccine before I was pregnant meant I wouldn’t be passing on any antibodies to our baby but I was gripped with doubt. My initial thoughts about the vaccine were apprehension, mainly because we’d experienced a miscarriage the previous year.

I wanted to do my research, wait for new information and wait to see what my body could do with our first IVF cycle. My motto is ‘if in doubt, check it out’.

Caroline and her husband underwent IVF to conceive.

I was reassured after speaking to my fertility specialist, Dr Raelia Lew at Melbourne IVF. She’d just contributed to a paper for ANZSREI – Australian and New Zealand Society of reproductive endocrinology & Infertility – giving advice to women that the COVID vaccine is safe and efficacious.

My husband and I then underwent our first embryo transfer; it was successful, and we were in the early stages of pregnancy.

At eight weeks pregnant I had an appointment with my obstetrician and asked for vaccine advice. Do I get the vaccine now or wait until the first trimester ends? The decision was huge and intensified by our tough journey to conceive.

“Women trying to conceive can be vaccinated at any time, even in early pregnancy.”

I did more research; I spoke to my friends that work in hospitals and I spoke to the experts. I soon realised I wanted to do everything I could to protect the baby that was growing inside me, a baby girl.

I wanted to protect her by getting the vaccine whilst pregnant so I could pass on antibodies. I looked at the available data from scientists and was able to objectively come to a decision.

I’m now reassured that when I give birth in April, my baby will enter the world protected. I feel that I am helping to protect the next generation.

There is so much misinformation out there, but it’s important to know women trying to conceive can be vaccinated at any time, even in early pregnancy.

Now that I’m triple vaccinated, I feel protected, and my baby is safe.