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COVID-19 and Infertility Patients

Should I Freeze My Eggs?

Information about the novel COVID-19 virus is changing daily. However, CACRM is committed to providing you with the most up-to-date insights and statistics into how this disease will affect infertility treatment and pregnancy.

Our scientific staff is continually reviewing the latest findings on COVID-19 from these four eminent health organizations:

The Centers for Disease Control is the principal U.S. agency providing leadership and information about COVID-19. The World Health Organization is the international health entity leading the global fight against COVID-19. It has been instrumental in compiling much of the initial research into how the disease spreads and affects people. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine is the preeminent national organization for reproductive medicine professionals and has issued several directives about infertility treatment during this crisis. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises women’s health care physicians, advocating for the highest standards of practice

Here is what we know today:

Infertility patients are not in the high-risk age group

Increasing age is a significant risk factor for COVID-19 illness. Infertility patients and pregnant women generally are not in the highest risk age category of individuals who are getting seriously ill from the disease.

Pregnant women should avoid any infections

Pregnancy impacts a woman’s immune system and hormone levels. The CDC advises pregnant women to take precautions to prevent all types of infections, including COVID-19 and influenza. Pregnant women should be practicing good hygiene and social distancing like everyone else. At this time, the CDC does not know if pregnant women are at a higher risk than the public in contracting COVID-19 or getting ill from it.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued this advisory:Currently available data on COVID-19 does not indicate that pregnant women are at increased risk. However, pregnant women are known to be at greater risk of severe morbidity and mortality from other respiratory infections such as influenza and SARS-CoV. As such, pregnant women should be considered an at-risk population for COVID-19.”

News from China about COVID-19 and childbirth

The British medical journal The Lancet recently published a study about the outcomes of nine pregnant women with COVID-19. None of the mothers were unwell, and the babies did not have the virus, nor was it found in breast milk. All the women had cesarean sections, which are common in China.

The World Health Organization’s new guidelines on pregnancy state:

“there is no evidence that pregnant women present with different signs or symptoms or are at higher risk of severe illness. So far, there is no evidence on mother-to-child transmission when infection manifests in the third trimester … WHO recommends that caesarean section should ideally be undertaken only when medically justified.”

Infant outcomes

ACOG has weighed in on the limited data on adverse infant outcomes from mothers with COVID-19, such as preterm births. It does not feel it is clear the outcomes were related to the mother’s positive status for COVID-19. Currently it is unclear if COVID-19 can cross through the transplacental route to the fetus. In limited recent case series of infants born to mothers infected with COVID-19 published in the peer-reviewed literature, none of the infants have tested positive for COVID-19.”

Information is preliminary

Doctors, scientists, and epidemiologists are collaborating globally to ascertain the most recent data. As new research becomes available, we will inform our patients.

ASRM recommendations

ASRM has asked all fertility providers to postpone treatment cycles for the near future. The ASRM COVID-19 Task Force will recurrently re-evaluate all bulletin directives. We are complying with this recommendation by postponing our April and May cycles.

Telemedicine is available

You can still be proactive about your fertility and plan for the future. The federal government has waived HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) requirements for telehealth. Now we can legally Skype or video chat. This keeps both our patients and staff members safe from exposure and allows you to dream about a future with a baby.

We are here for you

Whether you talk to one of us on the phone or through a teleconference, we are always available to answer your questions or concerns about current or future cycles. We also can be a virtual shoulder to cry on.

We understand how devastating the news of postponing your baby-making plans is as is living with the uncertainty this pandemic is causing. We also can refer you to an infertility mental health specialist if you feel you need more assistance.

We are all in this together

Thank you for being so patient as we navigate this unprecedented time in our history. Our foremost concern is the health and safety of our patients and staff. The faster we contribute to ‘flattening the curve’ of COVID-19 infection, the sooner we can restore the normalcy we all desire.

Even though we have to take these extraordinary measures, nonetheless, we are hopeful about the future. We hope you are too.

Resources:

CDC on Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Breastfeeding https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/pregnancy-breastfeeding.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fspecific-groups%2Fpregnancy-faq.html#anchor_1584169262

ASRM Bulletins

https://www.reproductivefacts.org/news-and-publications/news-and-research/?filterbycategoryid=21

World Health Organization Guidance

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/practice-advisory/articles/2020/03/novel-coronavirus-2019

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