On March 17, 2020, the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) issued an update for fertility care during COVID-19. Their updated guidelines recommend that women suspend new or non-urgent fertility treatments due to this coronavirus pandemic. These recommendations include suspending:
New treatment cycles, including IUIs, IVF, retrievals and embryo transfers and more
They recommend that fertility clinics and medical facilities limit care to women who are in-cycle or who have urgent needs. The goal is to reduce interactions. They also suggest that telehealth be utilized, where possible, in lieu of physical appointments.
Fertility and COVID-19
If you are in the middle of a fertility treatment, you will continue to receive care. However, news outlets have published articles about fertility doctors who are facing numerous questions from female patients about fertility and COVID-19. Many women, one article reports, feel panicked about the health of their eggs. This feeling is leading to an increase in volume for egg freezing services. This particular article predates the SART recommendations for a halt in these procedures. Questions about fertility and COVID-19 remain.
Can COVID-19 Damage Your Eggs or a Fetus?
There is currently no evidence that COVID-19, a coronavirus like SARS, can damage a woman’s eggs or reproductive health. Women’s health issues are complex and frequently unexplored. As such, it’s understandable to worry about the unknown.
However, the CDC has published that there is no known connection between COVID-19 and egg or fetus health. To date, no women who have given birth while positive for COVID-19 have had infants that also tested positive. The virus was not found in amniotic fluid or breastmilk.
If you are interested in freezing your eggs either soon or later, there are some important things to know. Egg freezing can be a wonderful opportunity to preserve healthy eggs until later in life. Some women who have insufficient egg production use donor eggs to get pregnant.
Whether you are saving for yourself or donating eggs, the process is the same. You will want to learn about the medical preparation, mental health considerations and the physical process of egg freezing.
Here are some resources for further investigation:
Fertility4Me Article on Egg Freezing
American Society for Reproductive Medicine Egg Freezing Fact Sheet
USCFertility’s FAQs about egg freezing
Fertility IQ’s egg freezing course
Everyday there is new information about this coronavirus. COVID-19 has forced social isolation, a work from home movement and closed down regular gatherings. It can be a fearful time for many of us. While it is not suspected that COVID-19 negatively impacts egg health or fertility, it is well known that anxiety does impact all of us in negative ways.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America provides recommendations for avoiding anxiety and panic during this pandemic:
Reframe the situation with positive affirmations
Follow normal routines as much as possible
Don’t obsess over COVID-19 news and updates
Organize your home
Adopt a new ritual during self-quarantine
Use telehealth options if needed
Consider adding us to your rituals.
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We wish you and yours wellness and peace of mind during this unique season.