What Patients Should Know About COVID-19 While Conceiving?
Over the past few weeks, many patients have asked about coronavirus 2019 /(COVID-19), and its possible effects on fertility treatment or pregnancy. The COVID-19 is a newer variation of Coronavirus, and experts are still learning about its unique characteristics. However, we have experience working through other waves of Coronaviruses to offer us guidance. In recent years, we have successfully navigated both SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome – Coronavirus) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome – Coronavirus). Each day, experts release new studies and data that help us better understand prevention and quickly evolving treatment options.
Currently, all experts agree that the prevention of modifiable risk factors is paramount. Thus, we should all try to avoid exposure to the virus. Fortunately, there are a few simple things we can do to reduce the risks. Some suggestions include frequent hand washing, disinfection of surfaces, social distancing at home, and as well as in the workplace.
We are closely monitoring the global developments of the COVID-19 situation and vigilantly tracking the news and emerging studies. Additionally, we commit ourselves to implement enhanced protocols to ensure your safety and to keep our patients safe. Ultimately, our focus is to ensure we meet the needs of our patients while doing our part to keep you, our employees, and our communities safe.
RSMC Current Fertility Treatment Guidance Regarding Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
- Fertility Seminars: We will continue to host our monthly fertility seminars. However, keeping the Coronavirus/COVID 19 outbreak in mind, fertility seminars will be virtual and held over Zoom. We transitioned to this format some time ago to make it more convenient and completely private for our patients. If interested, please see our upcoming seminars.
- Consultations and Fertility Evaluations: We are currently offering both in-office and virtual consultations. All patients electing for onsite consultations with diagnostic evaluation (ultrasound, bloodwork, etc.) will undergo our screening process upon arrival. We have limited our onsite patient volume dramatically to allow us to protect our patients and support social distancing requirements.
- New Treatment Cycles: We will evaluate each case on an individual basis. Your physician will decide to either initiate or delay new treatment cycles. These include ovulation induction, IUIs, IVF, egg retrievals, and frozen embryo transfers, as well as non-urgent egg freezing. We will continue to initiate cycles for patients who require urgent fertility preservation, such as those diagnosed with cancer seeking oncofertility treatment.
- In-Cycle Patients: We will continue to care for our patients who are currently ‘in-cycle.’
- Elective Surgeries: We will postpone all elective surgeries at this time.
Please note: As this situation evolves, we will be reviewing and updating our guidance periodically. Our goal is to maintain the highest degree of safety while minimizing the disruption of patient care. Additionally, we encourage you to monitor sites such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization. Also, stay in contact with your local health department for the most up to date information regarding Coronavirus/COVID 19 and pregnancy.
Who is at the most Significant Risk?
According to the CDC and recent reports, for most people, the risk of exposure to COVID-19 is low. The following groups of people are at higher risk of exposure:
- Front-line Healthcare Professionals because they are likely to encounter people who have the virus.
- Individuals from the places where there is a community spread.
- Individuals who had contact with people who have traveled to areas where there is an ongoing community spread.
- People who came into close contact with people who have the virus.
- Travelers, who are coming back from international locations with the current community spread.
- Older people, generally above 65.
- People with underlying medical conditions as well as reduced immune function.
Coronavirus Fertility Precautions
As mentioned above, there are general precautions that everyone should be taking when it comes to self, home, and workplace hygiene. The most critical precautions in all of these instances are washing hands and social distancing.
We recommend you exercise the following cautions to minimize the possibility of contracting Coronavirus/COVID 19 during your fertility cycle:
- Employ social distancing, especially while you are in a cycle.
- The standard 6-foot distance is recommended in social distancing. Additionally, it is ideal to limit social gatherings of any size.
- Work from home if allowable.
- You may need support in requesting the modifications from your employer. In such a case, your physician will be happy to provide you a note requiring the modifications.
Common Questions on Fertility Treatment & Coronavirus
When our patients are in stimulation for an IUI or IVF cycle, it is always a priority to stay healthy. You may have been in contact with someone diagnosed with Coronavirus. You may also observe the typical symptoms of Coronavirus or an acute respiratory viral infection such as sore throat, fever, or cough. In such cases, you should contact your primary care provider or a local Coronavirus testing facility as soon as possible.
For many, Coronavirus/COVID 19 has brought an even better time to explore fertility options than usual. Many of our patients have restricted many other activities, allowing time to explore their options. You can schedule all of our consultations virtually over t