COVID- 19: Guidelines for Patients Undergoing Fertility Treatment or Expecting Pregnancy
Pedieos IVF Advisory: We are advising all patients to postpone Infertility Treatment and Pregnancy until further notice.
Women who are pregnant
For women who are already pregnant, there does not seem to be any cause for alarm. A number of women who tested positive for COVID-19 have delivered babies free of disease. Although this is very reassuring at this early stage, the data is quite limited to say with confidence that COVID-19 has no long-term effects of the offspring. We are able to say at this point however, that COVID-19 does not have any severe effects on the child like the ZIKA virus does.
Patients with High Likelihood of Having COVID-19
Patients are considered having high likelihood of COVID-19 if they meet the following criteria:
- Fever and/or cough
- Shortness of breath
- Either exposure within 6 feet of a confirmed COVID-19 patient and within 14 days of onset of symptoms
- Positive COVID-19 test result
If patients meet any of the above criteria it is advised by both USA’s ASRM (American Society for Reproductive Medicine) and UK’s HFEA (Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority), including those planning to use oocyte donors, sperm donors, or gestational carriers, to avoid a pregnancy. If these patients are undergoing infertility treatment, we are suggesting that they freeze all oocytes and embryos and postpone the embryo transfer until they are disease-free.
The symptoms of COVID-19 are very similar to other more common respiratory infections so patients who have suspicion but do not meet any of the aforementioned high likelihood scenarios to exposure should not be concerned. It is advised however by the HFEA that they still postpone treatment until further notice.
Some direct guidelines from the official fertility health boards around the world:
- The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has advised that as of 17th March suspension of all new, non-urgent fertility treatments in the midst of a public health emergency. They aim to review their recommendations no later than 30 March 2020 with the aim of resuming usual patient care as soon as possible.
- The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) has stated that there is no strong evidence of any negative effect of COVD-19 on pregnancy, especially at the early stages. They have taken a precautionary approach and have advised all fertility patients to avoid becoming pregnant at this time and suggested consideration of deferred pregnancy with oocyte of embryos cryopreservation