Your fertility treatment and COVID-19

We understand that our patients may be feeling anxious and worried at this time – and confused about the implications of the coronavirus on their fertility treatment. Please read on to understand how Newlife IVF is managing your care during the pandemic period.

What effect does coronavirus have on my fertility treatment?

Since the Federal Government confirmed that IVF can recommence, we can offer all our usual fertility treatments and have been treating patients wanting to initiate new IVF stimulation cycles. This means that we can now proceed with new egg collections, fresh or frozen embryo transfers and intrauterine insemination once again. Newlife IVF remains open and our fertility specialists, nurses and counsellors are all available, with most consults now taking place virtually (via telehealth or videoconferencing).

Please note: Newlife IVF must follow directives from the Department of Health, as well as the policies of Epworth Eastern Hospital, and these are subject to change. Currently, any patient who has had ‘close contact’ to a person known to have COVID-19 must self-quarantine for 14 days. This means that they can’t attend the clinic for any fertility treatment. The current definition of a close contact is:

  • Overseas travel from any country in the previous 14 days;
  • Spending more than 15 minutes face-to-face, in any setting, with a person who is a confirmed case, in the 24 hours before they showed symptoms or once they showed symptoms;
  • Sharing a closed space for more than 2 hours with a person who is a confirmed case, in the 24 hours before they showed symptoms or once they showed symptoms.

Further, any patient actually diagnosed with coronavirus will be managed by the Department of Health, and they will be unable to attend the clinic while infectious. Please refer to this self-assessment tool from the Department of Health to assess your risk (correct as of 1 June 2020).

If I am having difficulty conceiving, is it still safe to seek help?

It is safe to undergo fertility assessment and treatment due to the numerous precautions we’re taking during the process. We still advise you to seek help from one of our specialists in line with our usual recommendations:

  • If you are under 35, we advise seeking help after 12 months of trying for a baby without success.
  • If you are over 35, we recommend seeking help after just 6 months of trying.

We can arrange a virtual consult or see you in our rooms with suitable precautions in place. Our clinic is taking a number of steps to ensure safety, such as maintaining social distancing by staggering patient appointments and temperature checks. Please ensure good hand hygiene and frequent hand washing or using hand sanitiser if attending in person. We recommend patients remain proactive about their fertility assessment and treatment throughout this period due to the natural decline in fertility with age.

What should I do during this period if I’m undergoing fertility treatment?

We are encouraging our patients to do all the recommended actions to reduce their risk of being exposed to COVID-19 including social distancing and hand hygiene. It’s even more important than usual to keep healthy by eating well and exercising to benefit your physical and mental health – see our blog for useful tips.  You can reduce your risk of exposure by following these steps (DHHS advice, correct as of 1 June 2020).

What happens if I am quarantined during or before my fertility treatment?

During your period of quarantine, you will be unable to attend Newlife IVF clinics for appointments, ultrasounds, blood tests or fertility procedures (such as embryo transfer). If you suspect you need to self-quarantine or have been told to undergo quarantine, please contact our nursing team as soon as practicable by calling (03) 8080 8933. While our first priority is to reduce the spread of coronavirus through our community, we will do what we can to facilitate your care and continue with your treatment, if it’s appropriate and safe to do so. For example, some appointments can be managed by teleconference, or home delivery of medications may be appropriate. Your fertility nurse will advise what is possible in your particular situation.

What effect does COVID-19 have on pregnant women?

It is difficult to be completely certain because COVID-19 is a new virus.  Our current observations are:

  • Pregnant women don’t seem more likely to get this infection
  • If a pregnant woman is infected, the symptoms seem to be no more severe than non-pregnant women
  • The vast majority of pregnant women are expected to experience only mild to moderate cold or flu like symptoms
  • There is no evidence of an increased risk to the pregnancy, such as miscarriage, prematurity, fetal abnormalities or any other complications.

Can I pass coronavirus on to my baby?

There is no evidence at present that coronavirus can cross the placenta and cause an infection during the pregnancy.

If I am diagnosed with coronavirus during my pregnancy, what effect will it have on my baby?

It appears that a maternal infection does not pose any additional risk to your baby.

I’m still worried – what can I do?

It is understandable to feel anxious at this time on top of the normal worries associated with fertility treatment and pregnancy.  Don’t feel like you have to cope alone. We are always here to help, and the coronavirus pandemic is no exception. Please do not hesitate to call (03) 8080 8933 to speak to one of our team members or email [email protected].  We will then direct you to our fertility specialists, nursing or counselling team, as appropriate, for support and information.

This is certainly an extraordinary time but we will all get through it together.

If you have any further questions, do get in touch!

Stay safe and take care, from Tiki and the rest of the Newlife IVF team.

#inthistogether

Disclaimer: all information in this post is correct as of 1 June 2020 and will be regularly updated as new information and advice from health authorities comes to hand.