Health authorities around the world are still learning about the COVID19 virus. For now, little is known about its impact on reproduction and pregnancy.
When new diseases emerge, particularly ones that cause widespread infection, it is wise to exercise an over-abundance of caution.
Preliminary guidelines for patients undergoing or considering infertility treatments have been issued. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) have focused on three areas of concern:
- If you are already pregnant or seeking to initiate a pregnancy soon avoid travel to known areas of infection
- Avoid contact with potentially infected individuals
- The advice applies to both men and women.
- If you have been diagnosed with COVID19 infection you should avoid becoming pregnant
- Prospective oocyte and sperm donors, as well as gestational carriers, should also avoid pregnancy and donation when infected with COVID-19 infection
- If you are undergoing active infertility treatment, ASRM suggests that you consider freezing all oocytes or embryos and avoiding an embryo transfer until you are disease-free.
- If you are using a gestational surrogate to build your family, ASRM and SART are concerned that travel may be restricted due to the virus
- Parents may then be unable to join their newborn in a timely manner
- This aspect should be considered now by patients and the other parties involved to avoid this scenario.
Obviously, all the other advice and guidelines regarding COVID19 apply to infertility patients as well!
Here are the main recommendations to avoid and prevent infection
Clean your hands often
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Keep your distance
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community.
Clean and disinfect
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, taps and sinks
- If surfaces are dirty, clean them
- Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
Professor Ricardo Azziz, CEO of ASRM said in a written statement about COVID19, “We should all recognize that the situation remains very fluid and could change rapidly. We will continuously monitor the situation, attempting to ensure we have and can provide you with the best information about COVID-19 and the best practices being developed by other organizations.”
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