1 April 2020

COVID-19 Update: For patients in-cycle or those considering fertility care

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Written by

Tas IVF

COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving situation – please speak to our staff on 1800 111 483 for the latest information and access to our online consultations.

The Australian Government has put a hold on all elective surgery and our Tasmanian State Government has moved to a stage three lockdown. It is up to all of us to comply with these directives in order to protect the individual and the community, save lives and bring an end the COVID-19 pandemic as soon as possible.

TasIVF is complying with our State and Federal Government directives and reducing your risk of exposure to COVID-19.

What does this mean for you?

  • Treatment cycles already started will be completed
  • Emergency/Urgent fertility preservation (e.g. cancer patients) will continue to be treated
  • New cycles including egg collections, embryo transfer and artificial insemination will be postponed
  • If you are planning a frozen embryo cycle and your cycle does start, please feel free to call the clinic and register so that if restrictions are lifted before your treatment day we can hopefully proceed with your treatment. 

TasIVF is here to help and will continue to;

  • Be available for online/teleconference consultations to help and support you as much as we can
  • Help you plan your treatment so that you can start as soon as possible when the lockdown is lifted
  • Look after your embryos, eggs and sperm. These are not at risk and are monitored 24 hours per day
  • Support patients having ovulation induction, using urine testing and monthly blood tests which does not require visiting the clinic

TasIVF's approach aligns with the Government’s announcement on 25 March that all elective surgery is to be suspended other than category 1 and urgent category 2 cases. For clarity, IVF cycles in stimulation (including patients about to be triggered) are included in category 1.  Any patients who do not come within category 1 should seek the advice of their specialist as to whether they can commence treatment.    

The Fertility Society of Australia updated advice 25 March 2020 appreciates the needs of individuals seeking assistance to conceive or preserve their fertility but also acknowledges that the overarching responsibility currently is to all patients as part of the Australian and New Zealand healthcare system.

The Fertility Society of Australia therefore recommends that, in the interest of public safety, patients who are planning to start fertility treatment consult with their treating specialist and discuss the appropriateness of postponing their treatment.

The Fertility Society of Australia recognises that there may be medical circumstances where delaying treatment may not be advisable and treating specialists should advise their patients if there are medical grounds to commence treatment now.

Many of the long-term effects of COVID-19 are still not clear. The number of pregnant women who have contracted COVID-19 and have subsequently delivered is small. The results are reassuring, including no evidence of mother-to-baby transmission during pregnancy. Currently available evidence does not suggest serious consequences for young children or women in pregnancy. However, as the situation is still emerging, these results require cautious optimism.

Our advice is that unaffected and low risk patients going through assisted reproduction (such as IVF) will not be at any higher risk of complications than anyone else in the population. 

The current recommendations from The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists are reassuring and state: 

“At this time, pregnant women do not appear to be more severely unwell if they develop COVID-19 infection than the general population. It is expected that the large majority of pregnant women will experience only mild or moderate cold/flu like symptoms." 

In line with current recommendations if a woman who is trying to conceive or in early pregnancy develops an infection COVID-19 or otherwise, they are advised to take Panadol to minimise their fever and seek advice from their doctor.

If you have to withdraw from fertility treatment because of an actual or suspected COVID-19 exposure before the egg collection, NO out of pocket costs will be charged by TasIVF (for Medicare eligible patients only).