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My daughter is 16 and would like to get the HPV vaccine. I’m wondering about the risks and benefits of this vaccine, including the implications for her future fertility?

Written by our medical expert Dr. Beth Taylor, co-founder and co-director of Olive Fertility Centre, Vancouver, British Columbia. 

The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted virus that can cause cervical, anal, vagina, vulvar and throat cancer. Fortunately there is a vaccine against the most serious types of HPV.  The vaccine is safe, and in a study of over 17,000 women, it was found to prevent cervical cancer almost completely (>97%).  The vaccine is so effective that the Canadian Cancer Society, the World Health Organization, and other major health organizations recommend it for all girls starting around age 11.

While HPV is a terrible virus, it does not cause infertility. The vaccine against HPV is safe. There have been reports of fainting, headaches, and other post-vaccine side effects but in no instances has it been associated with infertility.

In weighing the risks and benefits, it certainly appears that the benefits of preventing cancer far outweigh any minor post-vaccine side effects. From the available research evidence, you need not be concerned about your daughter’s future fertility should she be vaccinated against HPV.

For more information on the risks and benefits of the HPV vaccine please click here.

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