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UPDATE 25/03/2020: Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Medical Director
2020-03-13

UPDATE 25/03/2020: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

UPDATE 25/03/2020

In view of the Prime Minister's announcement earlier this week, the management of City Fertility decided to finish all undergoing treatments and close the clinic until the foreseeable future to protect our members of staff as well as our patients and members of the public. 

The clinic will be opened for visits until Wednesday 1st April 2020 (8am until 4pm) which will be the last day until the foreseeable future. 

Please note that all our members of staff (administrators, embryologists, nurses, and doctors) will be working remotely from home which means that you can still reach us. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at any time - we will continue to have our phone lines open every working day from 8am to 4pm and our lovely patient coordinators will be happy to help with anything.

As a clinic, we recognise what a difficult and challenging time this is. It is unprecedented in this country and can only be adding to what is already a challenging time for you.

Vicky Parkin, our counselor, is more than happy to offer you some support to talk through what is happening and to help enable you to process the situation. This would be done remotely by phone or Skype to ensure your safety. If you wish to contact Vicky please do so via email at info@vickyparkin.co.uk 

We are in this together so if you need any kind of support or have got any fertility-related questions please feel free to call or drop us an email. Stay home, stay safe!

City Fertility team

UPDATE 16/03/2020

Due to the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we have taken the decision, in consideration of our medical ethical duties and our social responsibility, to curtail the following range of our clinical services over the coming weeks.

  • We will continue to facilitate IVF/ICSI cycles up to and including egg collection and blastocyst culture for the foreseeable future. But these embryos will be frozen for the coming weeks until the suspended treatment cycle can be restarted after the COVID-19 crisis has passed.
     
  • We will not be implanting either fresh or frozen thawed embryos to our patients. This is to reduce the possibility that if a woman becomes pregnant with our help she may require hospitalisation in the coming months when hospitals are expected to be under severe pressure to treat very unwell citizens.
     
  • Or if a female patient becomes very unwell due to COVID-19 she may need drugs to treat her which are in fact contraindicated in pregnancy.
     
  • We will not be carrying out a partner or donor sperm Intrauterine Inseminations (IUI) as this could again lead to pregnancy with the above mentioned potential risks.
     
  • Routine diagnostics such as semen analysis, hormone profiling blood tests, endometrial biopsies, diagnostic ultrasound scans.
     
  • Clients attending the clinic for the IVF/ICSI treatment cycle currently ongoing will be asked to maintain a distance of 2 meters from other patients.
     
  • Please do not attend if you feel unwell with Flu-like symptoms.
     
  • Please attend alone for appointments without your partner (unless otherwise instructed), or friend, and without any children (despite childcare issues prevailing).

Coronavirus COVID-19: European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) statement on pregnancy and conception

In view of the increasing incidence of infection from the coronavirus COVID-19 and widespread initiatives to limit its spread, ESHRE reaffirms its recommendation that Society members follow local and national government advice, particularly national daily advice updates, with compliance encouraged where feasible.

Pregnancy and conception

There is no strong evidence of any negative effects of COVID-19 infection on pregnancies, especially those at early stages, as indicated by the latest updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the USA and others in Europe.

These are a few reported cases of women positive for COVID-19 who delivered healthy infants free of the disease. There have been reports of adverse neonatal outcomes (premature rupture of membranes, preterm delivery) in infants born to mothers positive for COVID-19 during their pregnancy, but the reports were based on limited data. Similarly, one case report has been published of an infected infant, but again there was strong evidence that this was the result of vertical transmission.

These data, although encouraging, only report small numbers and must be interpreted with caution. They refer to pregnancies in their final stages, but we have no information on the possible effect of COVID-19 infection on pregnancies in their initial stages.

However, in view of the above considerations and the maternal and neonatal outcomes reported in cases of other coronavirus infections (such as SARS), ESHRE continues to recommend a precautionary approach. It is also important to note that some of the medical treatment given to severely infected patients may indicate the use of drugs that are contraindicated in pregnant women.

As a precautionary measure – and in line with the position of other scientific societies in reproductive medicine – we advise that all fertility patients considering or planning treatment, even if they do not meet the diagnostic criteria for COVID-19 infection, should avoid becoming pregnant at this time. For those patients already having treatment, we suggest considering deferred pregnancy with oocyte or embryo freezing for later embryo transfer.

ESHRE further advises that patients who are pregnant or those (men and women) planning or undergoing fertility treatment should avoid travel to known areas of infection and contact with potentially infected individuals.

ESHRE will continue to monitor the scientific literature, especially in relation to ART and pregnancy. And reaffirms the view that all medical professionals have a duty to avoid additional stress to a healthcare systém that in many locations is already overloaded.

INFORMATION from 13/03/2020

The recent outbreak of infections with the novel coronavirus has been naturally a source of concern for many of our existing and prospective patients.  Due to the uncertainty as to the course of this outbreak many patients expressed their wish to pursue fertility treatment despite the concern. The following advice is aimed at reducing anxiety and guiding existing and prospective patients so that they can access fertility care safely. 

Prospective and existing patients who are suspected to have been exposed to a carrier of the virus. 

You will have been advised to self-isolate and therefore you should not attend your appointment at City Fertility. Instead, you should contact us by email or on the phone to seek advice. If you are planned to attend an initial or follow-up consultation, we will be able to offer you an on-line consultation instead. If you are in treatment we will consider whether abandoning your cycle is the best and safest approach. If it is decided that you should abandon the treatment cycle we will not charge you cancellation fees.

Existing or prospective patients with symptoms of flu and no suspicion of exposure to a carrier of the Novel Coronavirus.

You will have been advised to self-isolate and therefore you should not attend your appointment at City Fertility. We ask that you do not attend your appointment at City Fertility and that you call us to seek our advice instead. If you are planned to attend a follow-up or an initial consultation we will be able to offer you an online consultation. If you are having treatment with us we will consider whether you should abandon the treatment cycle or whether it would be safe to continue. If it is decided that you should abandon the treatment cycle we will not charge you cancellation fees.

Prospective or existing patients who have no symptoms of flu and no history of possible exposure to the novel Corona Virus. 

Please inform us if it is your preference to refrain from traveling to the clinic. If you are planned to have an initial or a follow-up consultation with us we can offer you an on-line consultation instead. Please also note that some of the blood tests that may be required for your consultation (such as AMH, FSH, LH, oestradiol, progesterone beta-hCG and thyroid function tests) can be taken at the comfort of your home by means of a user-friendly finger-prick blood drawing kit that we can supply you with.

To reduce the risk of transmission of the virus City Fertility have adopted stringent infection control protocols and practices.

We can confirm that we do not suspect that any member of our staff has been in contact with a carrier of the novel Corona Virus. Any staff members of staff who develop symptoms of flu are instructed to self-isolate and refrain from coming to work. All visitors to the clinic are asked for a possibility of recent exposure to the virus and for any symptoms of flu. Visitors who admit to any of the above are politely asked to leave the unit immediately. 

A written message to the same effect greats any visitors when they enter the unit. 

All visitors to the unit are asked to apply a hand disinfectant solution with anti-viral properties. Members of staff are instructed to wash hands and apply a disinfectant solution before and after any encounter with patients. All surfaces are cleaned several times a day using disinfectant wipes with anti-viral properties. Gowns, gloves and face masks are used when appropriate.