Coronavirus (C19) has hit us hard, there’s no doubt about that. Worldwide, there have been 281 million cases and 5.41 million deaths. We have seen society shrink into itself with social distancing and mandatory testing, in fact the face of lots of things that we assumed would be there forever has now changed – and a lot of these won’t change back. With that in mind, it’s perfectly understandable to have concerns about proceeding with IVF treatment. It can be a challenging time for anyone, even without the added stress of C19. Restricted travel has had a huge impact, and certain medicines aren’t as readily available as before. BUT – should you let this changed IVF landscape stop you from having treatment? Are you worried enough to step back and give it a rest for a while? It’s a completely understandable viewpoint, but if we look into the details of the situation, it looks far more reassuring than we might expect. Robust measures have been put in place during this pandemic to ensure the safety of patients and staff during the treatments. These include: social distancing, regular C19 testing and having the appropriate PPE in place.
If you’re exporting embryos or gametes from the UK, then there’s a bit of good news for you. The HFEA (Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Statutory Storage Period for Embryos and Gametes) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 means that the storage period has been extended by two years, giving people extra time to continue the treatment. Although, it’s worth bearing in mind that you can move embryos and gametes out of the UK but there are still strict conditions to be met.
Inevitably, there are lots of questions surrounding IVF treatment with Coronavirus lingering in the background, so what IS the truth of the matter?
Is it safe to resume treatment now that the restrictions have been relaxed?
As far as protecting yourself from contracting C19 goes, it’s no different during IVF treatment than any other time. Our clinic minimises the numbers of people having treatment at any one time, and face to face interactions are limited to the strictly necessary. We have maintained social distancing where possible and we have the appropriate PPE where necessary.
Should I think about delaying my fertility treatment?
In terms of the C19 pandemic alone, there’s nothing to suggest that delaying treatment brings any benefits. However, it’s your specific circumstances that need to be considered. If you are clinically vulnerable (or extremely CV), or if you have an underlying health condition, or if you’re suffering symptoms of long Covid, then you have to make the decision that’s right for you personally. There’s plenty of Government guidance about minimising your risk.
Is it safe for me to become pregnant?
Understandably, lots of people are worried about this. IVF is often the result of a difficult road to pregnancy and the concern around catching C19 when you’re pregnant is a very real worry. But, although clinical research is obviously limited at the moment, there’s nothing at all to suggest that it increases the risk of miscarriage, or pregnancy complications. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has more information on this. Essentially, there’s no elevated risk of harm to babies being born as a direct result of C19.
Will having the vaccine affect my fertility treatment?
There’s an easy answer to this one and it’s – no.
Will having the vaccine affect my chances of conception?
There’s absolutely nothing to suggest at this stage that having the vaccine will cause any problems with conception. It’s obviously a tricky thing at the best of times, but being vaccinated isn’t going to make you less likely to conceive as a result of IVF treatment.
Will the vaccine have a damaging effect on my reproduction ability?
Again, no, there is no evidence that suggests this might be an issue.
Will my baby be harmed if I haven’t had the vaccination?
There is no more risk to your baby of catching C19 than there would be in everyday life. Some people have the double vaccine and still contract C19, it isn’t 100% effective at preventing it.
Is there an increased risk of birth defects if I catch Coronavirus during pregnancy?
There’s absolutely no indication that this is the case. All of the advice so far is to proceed as normal with all pregnancies, but still carry out the routine screenings, tests and scans as appropriate for each patient.
Here at the Cyprus IVF Centre we do understand that many of our patients are going to have worries and questions that need addressing as part of their treatment plan, and we are here to do exactly that. Our treatment plans are carefully tailored to each patient, and we are always on hand to answer any concerns that you might have. Team Miracle offers comprehensive, all-round packages so that you can choose the right one for you.