The COVID19 pandemic is now upon the world and the situation is changing on a daily basis. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has updated its guidelines for management of the issue (1).
The goal of ASRM is to provide practices with recommendations that guard the health and safety of patients and IVF clinic staff while complying with national (US) public health recommendations.
Remember these are ASRM recommendations for US IVF clinics.
Other guidelines will apply in other areas of the world.
Where in doubt, contact your healthcare professional or IVF clinic for their own plans on how they are managing the COVID19 issue.
KEY ASRM RECOMMENDATIONS FOR IVF CLINICS THAT AFFECT PATIENTS
- NO NEW CYCLES: Suspend 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.
- CONSIDER CANCELLING EMBYRO TRANSFERS: Strongly consider cancellation of all embryo transfers whether fresh or frozen.
- CONTINUE WITH ‘IN CYCLE’ PATIENTS: Continue to care for patients who are currently ‘in-cycle’ or who require urgent stimulation and cryopreservation.
- SUSPEND NON-EMERGENCY SURGERY: Suspend elective surgeries and non-urgent diagnostic procedures.
- CUT DOWN IN-PERSON CONTACT: Minimize in-person interactions and increase utilization of telehealth (Internet/telephone consultations).
OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS THAT APPLY TO PATIENTS
These guidelines aim to mitigate risk for patients, physicians, nurses, providers, laboratory staff, clinical staff and the community. This is to conserve valuable resources needed to fight the epidemic.
- Implement social distancing wherever possible
Explicitly, this means avoiding contact with crowds and other people. From the IVF clinic point of view, it means a shift to telehealth for consultations that would normally have taken place in the clinic offices.
It also means that patients should adhere to the CDC guidelines for prevention of COVID19 (2).
- Patients should avoid travel
Non-essential travel should be avoided wherever possible. Where patients/parents have contracted with a gestational carrier in a region affected by travel restrictions, clinics should implement alternative plans for care of the infant following delivery.
Clinics and patients should utilize telehealth in circumstances where patients are geographically distant from their physician.
To reiterate, these are ASRM recommendations for US IVF clinics. Other areas of the world will have their own guidelines. If you have any questions regarding your treatment or planned treatment contact your healthcare professional or IVF clinic for further information.
Please note health care professionals should refer to the complete recommendations linked below.
Please see below for further information.