As the number of COVID-19 cases increases, we wanted to take this opportunity to review currently available information regarding COVID-19, and how it might impact your care.
Please review the below information regarding the risks/benefits/alternatives of starting a fertility treatment cycle in the midst of this unprecedented coronavirus pandemic. It is critical that we maintain open lines of communication and honesty during this unprecedented pandemic.
Patients undergoing treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic should take extra caution given the unknown risks of contracting the virus.
The risk of exposure to COVID-19, whether at home, in the community, or in the work environment, can be reduced by:
- Reducing the risk of exposure to potentially infected individuals.
- Avoiding gatherings, even of small numbers of people, especially when indoors.
- Maintaining social distancing.
- Ensuring universal masking.
- Practicing frequent hand hygiene.
- Ensuring surface decontamination.
- Avoiding all non-essential travel.
- Working remotely to the extent possible.
A healthcare facility, just like any other public place where people gather, poses risk. Precautions are being strongly followed and maintained in all of our offices and at our ambulatory surgery facility including the use of appropriate personal protective equipment, physical distancing, mandatory mask-wearing by staff and patients, and appropriate cleaning.
Pregnant patients are routinely exposed to viral infections. Some, like Varicella and Influenza, can be significantly more severe, and even devastating in pregnancy. Though initially, COVID-19 seemed to manifest similarly in pregnant women as in other infected patients, there is now data that suggests that that illness may be slightly more severe among pregnant women admitted to the hospital with acute COVID-19 illness than nonpregnant women. At present, there is no evidence that pregnant women are more susceptible to COVID-19. However, pregnancy may limit the medications or treatment options available to manage COVID-19. A pregnant woman may not be able to receive a vaccine against COVID-19 should one become available.
At this time, very limited data regarding risks associated with infection early in pregnancy. Data are reassuring, suggesting no increased risk of fetal loss or congenital anomalies associated with COVID-19 infection early in pregnancy. Ongoing research suggests that COVID-19 may be associated with an increased risk of preterm labor. There may also be limitations to routine medications, interventions, or obstetrical care available in the setting of both the pandemic and acute COVID-19 illness. Current evidence suggests that the risk of a neonate acquiring COVID-19 from its mother is low.
It is of note that there has not been a recommendation from our professional societies (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), or American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) to avoid, postpone, or terminate a pregnancy due to COVID-19.
Ultimately it is a patient’s decision to commence or delay treatment. Your physician is always available to discuss the impact if any, that delaying treatment may have on your cycle. It is important to note that the possibility always remains that your cycle will have to be canceled after you start treatment. This could be because the CDC, or other public health, state, local, or federal recommendations change. Also, if you become symptomatic, have contact with someone who could have been exposed to, or tests positive for COVID-19, your cycle may be canceled.
Your care team will continue to update you with any new information. You should not hesitate to contact us by telephone or email if you have any questions or concerns about the information above or any other aspect of your care.