This unexpected virus has disrupted our culture and our behaviors on unprecedented levels. Recently we came across an announcement from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine advising all physicians to place a hold on fertility treatments.
The organizing body developed by an expert Task Force of physicians, embryologists and mental health professionals and highly recommends suspension of new, non-urgent treatments.
Specifically, the recommendations include:
- Suspension of initiation of new treatment cycles, including ovulation induction, intrauterine inseminations (IUIs), in vitro fertilization (IVF) including retrievals and frozen embryo transfers, as well as non-urgent gamete cryopreservation.
- Strongly consider cancellation of all embryo transfers, whether fresh or frozen.
- Continue to care for patients who are currently ‘in-cycle’ or who require urgent stimulation and cryopreservation.
- Suspend elective surgeries and non-urgent diagnostic procedures.
- Minimize in-person interactions and increase utilization of telehealth
Understandably, little is known in regards to the effect of COVID-19 on fertility treatments and fertility rates. There are reports of women who have tested positive for COVID-19, who have delivered babies who do not have disease. Additionally, there is limited information from published scientific reports about the susceptibility of pregnant women to COVID-19 and the severity of infection. Available data are reassuring, but are limited to small case series.
In general, pregnant women experience immunologic and physiologic changes that make them more susceptible to viral respiratory infections, including potentially COVID-19. It is reasonable to predict that pregnant women might be at greater risk for severe illness, morbidity, or mortality compared with the general population.
We understand the frustration first hand of infertility and the process of getting pregnant (with many on our team actively trying before COVID-19 in the US). However, the uncertainty of this virus on women's health needs to be better understood and we are actively working with researchers to elucidate how this virus will affect women's health.
Stay tuned as we uncover more insights from researchers and experts in the field. We will update this blog post as more information is provided on the role of the virus on women's health.
FEM PATCH TEAM