HFEA updates COVID19 guidelines

The UK entered a second lockdown on Thursday 5 November. This has been necessitated by a predicted rise in new COVID19 cases as autumn transitions into winter. It goes without saying that, fertility patients are understandably worried about what this new lockdown will mean for them.

Good news

The UK’s Human Fertility and Embryology Authority (HFEA), are NOT looking to suspend fertility treatments this time around. HFEA-licensed clinics have already incorporated safe ways of working for patients and clinic staff during the pandemic. This is based on experience during and after the last lockdown.

At the moment there are no suggestions that patients should postpone treatment. Current lockdown rules permit patients to be outside their homes for any medical reasons, appointments and emergencies. However, UK COVID19 cases are rapidly increasing at the moment. Also, hospital admission and death rates are predicted to be significantly higher than in the first wave.

Clinics to review procedures

With that in mind, the HFEA has asked fertility clinics to review their procedures. This ensures detailed COVID19 action plans are implemented immediately.

HFEA advise, “We expect all clinics to demonstrate how their service can be safely maintained and how they can minimise any possible further impact on the wider NHS. For example by doing all they can to minimise referrals to emergency care. Clinics should consider implementing a freeze all strategy for patients at higher risk of referral. They should assess patients to identify those at greater risk of requiring NHS care.”

The HFEA is closely monitoring the situation and will continue to review any new guidance produced by the government and devolved administrations such as the NHS and professional societies.

Please click here to read the latest HFEA guidance.