April 3, 2020
COVID-19 and Fertility Treatment
Due to the ongoing situation regarding Covid-19, the HFEA have introduced measures for UK clinics. Our Group Medical Director, Professor Tim Child, explains below what this means for our patients:
The UK’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), based on British Fertility Society (BFS) advice, have stated that in view of the unknown effects of Covid-19 on embryos and pregnancy, and in the midst of a public health emergency, no new fertility treatment cycles should be started or non-urgent investigations undertaken until further notice (see links at end). The Fertility Partnership has the welfare of our patients, and their pregnancies, foremost in our minds and will follow the requirements of the HFEA.
This unfortunately means that no new ovulation induction, IUI, fresh IVF or Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) cycles can currently be started. In addition, we are unable to perform investigations such as semen analyses, blood tests or ultrasound scans (other than pregnancy scans being performed as part of a recent treatment cycle).
What is the situation for patients with a cancer?
The HFEA does allow urgent sperm, egg or embryo freezing for people with cancer or serious medical conditions requiring chemotherapy or radiotherapy that may affect their fertility. Within The Fertility Partnership, Oxford Fertility will remain open for patients requiring urgent fertility preservation for these reasons. It will be possible for affected people to have their monitoring done in their local Fertility Partnership clinic and attend Oxford Fertility just for egg or sperm collection.
When will fertility treatments and investigations restart?
We can assure you that we will restart treatment cycles and investigations as soon as permitted by the HFEA. Any updates will be posted on this webpage. If you would like to receive notification when we open, please let us know via Patient Portal or email.
Are my stored embryos, eggs or sperm being looked after, and how safe is the clinic?
The Fertility Partnership has robust systems in place to minimise the effects of the virus and public health measures on our patients and their stored eggs, sperm and embryos. Staff wash their hands frequently, surfaces are regularly sanitised, and foot-fall in the clinics is being minimised to necessity. Team working structures are in place and staff areas are zoned where possible. During the Government lockdown period all TFP clinics have embryology staff regularly checking the laboratory and freeze tanks, which are all linked to 24 hour monitoring. All clinics have members of the medical, nursing, patient services, counselling, embryology and administration teams working from home, and in the clinic as necessary. They are always available for patient calls and Skype consultations.
Can I still have a medical, counselling or nurse consent consultation?
All clinics are continuing to undertake medical, counselling and nurse consent consultations for new and current patients. These can be undertaken by Skype or telephone. We are here to support you during this difficult time. If you have concerns and want to speak to us, please make contact with your clinic via the Patient Portal or email. If you are a new patient wishing to arrange for a medical consultation, then please contact your Fertility Partnership clinic of choice by email and we will respond ASAP.
Please do not come to the clinic if you have developed a fever or new persistent cough, or are in self-isolation. Contact NHS 111 if you are unsure
We are here to support you during this uncertain time. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or would just like to talk with someone about your options.
Professor Tim Child
Group Medical Director, The Fertility Partnership