Following guidance from the British Fertility Society, the Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists, and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), UK fertility clinics are now expected to suspend all treatment due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Commenting on the decision, Dr Marta Jansa Perez, Director of Embryology at BPAS, said:
“For many people who struggle to conceive, the journey to starting IVF is long and incredibly costly on both a financial and emotional level. To have treatment delayed further will be devastating for them and their families. Infertility is defined as a disease by the World Health Organisation and while we appreciate that, during a public health crisis, difficult decisions have to be made, we also must not underestimate the impact this will have on the health and wellbeing of thousands of patients.
“It is important to stress that the decision to suspend IVF treatments at this current time has been taken to enable fertility professionals to deal with the current pandemic, to reduce the spread of the infection, and to avoid unsafe care due to staff shortages rather than because of any concerns about the impact of the virus on pregnant women and their babies. There is no evidence that Coronavirus presents a specific harm to pregnancies, and there is no evidence to suggest that becoming pregnant during this time would be unsafe.
“We hope that IVF services will resume as soon as practicably possible, and that in the meantime women and their families are able to access the support they need from fertility professionals, specialist support groups, and professional societies.”
The new guidance is available online here: https://www.britishfertilitysociety.org.uk/2020/03/18/guidance-for-the-care-of-fertility-patients-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic/
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bpas is a charity which sees almost 100,000 women a year for reproductive healthcare services including pregnancy counselling, abortion care, miscarriage management and contraception, at clinics across the UK. It supports and advocates for reproductive choice. BPAS also runs the Centre for Reproductive Research and Communication, which seeks to develop and deliver a research agenda that furthers women’s access to evidence-based reproductive healthcare, driven by an understanding of women’s perspectives and needs. You can find out more here: https://www.bpas.org/get-involved/centre-for-reproductive-research-communication/