COVID-19 and Fertility Treatment

COVID-19 and Fertility Treatment

COVID-19 and Fertility Treatment

The safety of patients, colleagues and the public, is always HCA UK’s priority. As the situation with coronavirus (COVID-19) has developed the Lister Fertility Clinic has continued to follow national guidance and is taking precautionary measures to help ensure the health and wellbeing of all our patients, staff and visitors.

Please read the latest COVID-19 update from Clinical Director, James Nicopoullos here.

We have the staffing and hospital infrastructure to continue our outstanding care to patients and have continued to operate a full service thus far whilst remaining vigilant and assessing guidance from Public Health England (PHE) and risk on a daily basis.

However, with the likely increase in social distancing measures and as guided by the British Fertility Society (18th March), we will suspend new treatment starts whilst all currently in treatment are able to complete their cycles as below. This is to ensure we are acting to promote the wider public health, promote social distancing and support the NHS efforts in any way we can.

  • The clinic will remain open and be staffed
  • We will, where possible, manage urgent cycles such as oncology patients
  • We will continue to perform phone consultations.
  • We would recommend all to have these to have a plan in place for when we reopen
  • We can assure everyone that there will be no issues with capacity on reopening

 

Please note the most recent PHE guidance on symptoms and self-isolation as of 16/03: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance.

Assessing your risk

Assessing your risk

Please do not attend a HCA UK facility for any reason if you have a high temperature (over 37.8 degrees) or have a new continuous cough or streaming nose or flu-like symptoms. If you do have these symptoms please follow Public Health England guidance to stay at home for 7 days, more details can be found by clicking here

Lister Fertility Clinic Infection Control Measures:

The normal high standards of infection control will be maintained through and beyond the COVID-19 outbreak.

https://www.hcahealthcare.co.uk/about-hca/infection-control

 

Pregnancy Risk

The government has advised that COVID-19 presents no significant evidence to suggest an increased risk to pregnant women:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-action-plan/coronavirus-action-plan-a-guide-to-what-you-can-expect-across-the-uk#fnref:12

The Royal College of Gynaecologists have also published the following reassuring advice and guidance:

https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/guidelines/coronavirus-pregnancy/covid-19-virus-infection-and-pregnancy/

A combine statement from the Royal Colleges of Gynaecologists, Midwives and Paediatricians was also released on the 17th March.

https://www.rcm.org.uk/media-releases/2020/march/professional-bodies-response-to-government-advice-for-pregnant-women-to-self-isolate/

 

Treatment

Medically, based on current evidence (see links above), we are reassured re pregnancy-related risk to mother and child but aware of the new national guidance that recommends heightened self-isolation for those in pregnancy which would be a considerable burden. So the option to proceed with treatment and electively freezing embryos is being offered to all. This is supported by the randomised controlled trials confirming that frozen transfer success rate is equal to that of a fresh transfer

There are certain scenarios that may still arise that may necessitate cycle cancellation:

  • Need for Self-Isolation
  • Staffing issues although contingencies are in place to reduce this risk
  • Government enforce further isolation measures
  • Hospital prioritising urgent NHS care

 

Group 1: Patients in treatment pre Egg Collection:

    1. Where a woman has started medication for an IVF cycle, every attempt will be made to allow her to complete treatment as usual.
    2. Although evidence of effect on pregnancy is reassuring (https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/guidelines/coronavirus-pregnancy/), if preferred embryos can be frozen for transfer later. No extra costs will be incurred and there will be no charge for the first frozen transfer from this cycle.
    3. We recommend that male partners freeze a sperm sample in case of need for self-isolation at the time of collection.
    4. Should any of the above scenarios occur: Cycle may be abandoned with no cancelled cycle charge applied. Medication will be refunded depending on reason for cancellation.

 

Group 2: Patients in treatment post Egg Collection:

  1. Where a woman is post collection, every attempt will be made to allow her to complete treatment as usual.
  2. Although evidence of effect on pregnancy is reassuring (https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/guidelines/coronavirus-pregnancy/), if preferred embryos can be frozen for transfer later. No extra costs will be incurred and there will be no charge for the first frozen transfer from this cycle.
  3. Should any of the above scenarios occur: We will proceed to Embryo Freeze (ideally at Blastocyst stage where possible) for frozen transfer cycle at a later date. No extra costs will be incurred and there will be no charge for the first frozen transfer from this cycle.

 

Group 3: Patients yet to start treatment

  1. Where a woman is yet to start treatment, as of 19th March no further treatment cycles will be commenced.
  2. We advise regular contact with the clinic for updates.
  3. Treatments will commence as soon as possible.

 

Any of our patients or those considering treatment should contact the clinic directly for further advice.

 

If you have an appointment booked with the Lister Fertility Clinic please see the full guidance at:

https://www.hcahealthcare.co.uk/news/press-releases/novel-coronavirus-infection

For more information, please see the HFEA Guidance regarding treatment and patient safety.

https://www.hfea.gov.uk/about-us/news-and-press-releases/2020-news-and-press-releases/hfea-coronavirus-covid-19-guidance/

 

Visitors

Lister Fertility Clinic continues to follow national guidance and as part of this we are changing our policy on visitors to the hospital.

  • We are limiting the number of visitors at any one time to one visitor per patient.
  • Our visiting hours are limited to between 11:00 – 19:00
  • Under 14’s will not be permitted into the hospital.
  • We will be asking all visitors on arrival a series of screening questions to assess their risk level. It may be that because of this they are not permitted to continue their visit.
  • All visitors will be required to wash/sanitise their hands upon entry to the hospital.
  • Visitors are only able to bring hot food in sealed containers.

We understand there may be occasions where you feel there is a need for some flexibility on this, but we ask that you discuss these first with your nursing team who will be able to give you advice on whether this will be possible.