COVID-19 Update: Preparing for a Reopening

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COVID-19 Update: Preparing for a Reopening

pregnant woman

A new beginning

It has been almost two months since we started to shelter in place and social distance from each other because of COVID-19. This has been an intense, emotional time for both our staff and patients.

At long last, we and other members of the San Diego medical community are seeing hopeful signs that our temporary pause of infertility treatment may indeed be coming to an end.

However, when we re-open, the way we practice and deliver care will be different. We will be establishing a new normal.

What we know today

  1. COVID-19 infections in our region are at an acceptable level to resume infertility treatment. The transmission curve is flattening in San Diego and health care providers caring for COVID patients have sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) to care for current COVID-19 patients. Using PPE for infertility services would not use resources needed for the fight against COVID-19.
  2. As an essential service, infertility treatment can be resumed if certain conditions are met. This is especially important for women with diminished ovarian reserve or who need to freeze their eggs because of impending cancer treatment, and for couples who will use surrogacy and egg donation to have a baby. Time is of the essence for these individuals.
  3. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM): “Data suggest that COVID-19 will remain a factor to be managed in our lives and practices for a prolonged period of time.”  Fertility clinics like ours will adapt our services to accommodate this new reality.
  4. Dr. Arnold and CACRM staff will be monitoring local conditions and are preparing to start seeing patients in the office around mid-May with the goal of initiating IVF cycles in June.
  5. Our goal in re-opening is to ensure that both our employees and patients are kept safe while providing and receiving care.
  6. We are following the guidelines and directives of all the major health care organizations, including the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (SART), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization, and California and San Diego health authorities.

Preparing for opening

Currently, our staff members are preparing our offices, laboratory, and surgical suites so we can comfortably physically separate patients and our employees. We will be abiding by infection control protocols to keep all surfaces and equipment clean, sanitary, and free of COVID-19.

CACRM will provide initial and follow-up telemedicine consultations for intended parents, surrogate mothers. and egg donors. We also will conduct medication and cycle education virtually. Cycle monitoring and diagnostic procedures will be done onsite under the proper conditions.

Screening patients and employees

These are some of the steps we will take as we move forward:

  • We will screen patients and employees with temperature checks and assess them for potential COVID-19 symptoms, as well as for compliance with social distancing, hand washing, and wearing face masks.
  • We will perform SARS COV-2 virus diagnostic testing on all staff and patients before starting treatment.
  • Our staff will discuss the risks/benefits before starting any treatment.
  • We will send patients detailed policies and guidelines, including risk assessment documentation, before their appointments.

Understanding risks

Our willingness to treat is not an indication that the risks are minimal. The coronavirus and its effects are too new for that to be the case.  We will ask you to sign an informed consent discussing the potential risks to pursuing care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Arnold encourages you to schedule a telemedicine consultation to answer any questions or concerns before starting IVF treatment.

CACRM will continue to review the recommended precautions to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of our patients, employees, and families and will continue to inform you as our policies change and evolve.

If you are ready to start IVF treatment, we encourage you to contact us today! We are excited to return to helping our patients build their families.

 

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