This is an incredibly hard time for couples with infertility and the providers who desperately want to help them. During the time of a pandemic we need to balance the right to reproductive care, with what is best for public health. As of March 17, 2020, the COVID-19 Task Force of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) issued their clinical recommendations for how fertility clinics should operate during this novel time. As of April 13, 2020 ASRM updated their recommendations and there has been no change.
ASRM currently recommends the following:
- Do not initiate new treatment cycles – including ovulation induction, intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF) (both egg retrievals and frozen embryo transfer), and non-urgent egg or embryo freezing.
- Strongly consider canceling all embryo transfers
- Continue caring for patients who are “in-cycle,” or who have urgent needs for egg or embryo freezing, such as cases of eminent treatment that would affect fertility.
- Postpone all elective surgery
- Prioritize telemedicine over in-person contact
Infertility is a disease, and treatment of infertility is therefore essential. However, during a national public health crisis, postponing treatments that can be delayed without undue risk to a patient is recommended for the overall societal good. While no one wants to jeopardize public health, it’s only natural to worry about one’s own personal situation. This is a challenging time, and it’s not unexpected that delaying fertility treatment prompts additional anxiety and stress. Many of my patients are fearful for how this “hold” on their treatment might impact their chances of being successful.
First let me say, PLEASE DO NOT LOSE HOPE!!! If you are under the age of 35 and have a good ovarian reserve, this temporary delay should not affect your fertility. For women over 35, I understand their valid fear that they’re losing precious time. Please know that there is no evidence that delaying treatment for a month or two will affect your ability to have a child – even if you have concerns about advanced reproductive age and/or diminished ovarian reserve.
I suggest using this time at home productively. Vitamins and supplements, dietary changes, exercise can help couples prepare for their upcoming fertility treatment. I also recommend doing what you can to minimize and manage anxiety and stress. I understand this may be easier said than done for couples waiting to start fertility treatment, but I suggest keeping in touch with family, friends and your support network. RESOLVE also has online support – support groups and webinars – to help you stay connected and informed.
During these times of uncertainty, remember you are not alone. Sher Fertility Institute New York’s social community (Facebook and Instagram) offers a chance to connect, engage, and be inspired by one another. Check in often to receive the latest practice updates. Click HERE for the latest information we have posted and click HERE for our FAQs relating to COVID-19.
If you have any questions now and would like a consultation, we are excited to announce that Sher Fertility Institute New York is offering telemedicine consultations for new and established patients. Schedule your appointment by contacting Sher Fertility Institute New York at 646-792-7476 or click here to schedule an appointment.