COVID-19 Impact on Fertility Treatment

The COVID-19 global pandemic has had world-wide impact. Our thoughts are with all of those who have been affected. Our aim with this content is to give you an overview on the impact of COVID-19 on fertility treatment and how you can make plans for your treatment in the future.

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Can I get a consultation during COVID-19?

Yes, you can still book a consultation. Most fertility clinics are offering virtual consultations, and depending on the city, many are also offering in-person consultations at their clinics.  You can find out which clinics are still open and accepting consultations by searching fertility clinics.

Can I get testing done during COVID 19 restrictions?

Yes, you can still have most fertility tests done during COVID-19. As noted above, many fertility clinics are open and treating patients with even more stringent health and safety protocols in place. Once you choose a fertility clinic and book a consultation, a patient coordinator from the clinic will call you to provide you with more information on how tests will be conducted.

If you are not comfortable going to a clinic for in-person testing, some fertility tests can be done at home. The fertility specialist will explain your options on your consultation.

Can I start a treatment cycle during COVID-19?

While this varies by city and state and is evolving on a daily basis, most clinics are currently offering treatment cycles in The United States. You can use IVF Options to request more information from a clinic to receive a call back from a patient coordinator, who will explain their cycle options at present.

What if I have started a treatment cycle?

For any patients currently undergoing treatment we recommend you contact your fertility specialist. Most patients who are in-cycle are allowed to finish their cycles. If you test positive for COVID-19 during a cycle, most clinics will allow patients to cancel their cycles.

I am nervous about getting pregnant during COVID-19. Should I wait to start treatment?

There has been no evidence of teratogenicity (fetal damage) from the novel coronavirus. In fact, no coronavirus has ever been associated with this outcome.

Most importantly, no authority has recommended avoiding, postponing, or terminating a pregnancy due to COVID-19. The guidance from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) has been reassuring regarding pregnancy risks.

With that said, If you have COVID-19 or have a high likelihood of developing COVID-19 (fever and/or cough, shortness of breath, and either exposure within 6 feet of a confirmed COVID-19 patient and within 14 days of onset of symptoms, or a positive COVID-19 test result), including those planning to use oocyte donors, sperm donors, or gestational carriers, you should strive to avoid a pregnancy.

If you are undergoing active infertility treatment, we suggest that you discuss with your physician the option to freeze all oocytes or embryos and avoid an embryo transfer.

Please note this recommendation does not necessarily apply when there solely is a suspicion of COVID-19, because symptoms of COVID-19 are very similar to other more common forms of respiratory illnesses.

 How will COVID-19 affect fertility treatment outcomes?

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), currently very little is known about the impact of COVID-19 on reproduction and pregnancy. We have no reason to believe COVID-19 will adversely affect the outcome of your fertility treatment.

Where can I go to get up to date industry and regulatory information on fertility treatment during COVID-19? 

The ASRM (American Society for Reproductive Medicine) is consistently updating information for physicians and patients. Read ASRM’s latest update for patients.

Can I get fertility treatment if I plan to get the COVID-19 vaccine? 

Yes you can. ASRM’s latest update states: “The Task Force does not recommend withholding the vaccine from patients who are planning to conceive, who are currently pregnant, or who are breastfeeding and encourages patients undergoing fertility treatment to receive vaccination based on current eligibility criteria.”

When can I expect to start a treatment cycle?

Generally a patient will begin a fertility cycle 1-2 months after their initial consultation. This is because of when the woman comes in during her menstrual cycle, and some tests needing to be conducted on specific dates during menstruation. Additionally, some fertility doctors recommend their patients taking oral contraception (birth control pills) for one month prior to starting treatment to regulate their cycle. However, there are also many fertility specialists that are able to help patients start treatment within a matter of days or weeks, as soon as the woman’s menstruation cycle allows it.

Why are some clinics open and others are closed?

Most fertility clinics in The US are open and accepting new patients. Some fertility clinics have closed permanently, and others have elected to do most of their consultations virtually, with only vital appointments in person. Throughout the fertility space, most doctors and patients agree that fertility treatment is essential and time sensitive, and patients should not be denied treatment.

To get started, you can use IVF Options to find and compare fertility clinics near you. You can contact clinics to request more information or book a consultation when you are ready to get started.

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