Covid-19 Outbreak Response

Statement from

Alpesh Doshi and Dr Moses Batwala

(as of 24th March 2020)

 

 

Based on advice from the Government, professional bodies and the HFEA, we have reluctantly made the difficult decision, we are temporarily, after 30th March 2020, suspending all treatments until further notice, based on Government advice.

This is due to the escalating measures around social distancing and believe that it is inappropriate to start any new treatments after 30th March 2020 until further notice.

The current COVID-19 situation is an unsettling time and we at IVF London, want to reassure you that we will play our part in continuing to support you, the Government and the NHS service, in the difficult weeks ahead.

IVF London recognises its responsibility to ease the burden on the health service and to ensure medical staff are free and able to work in the NHS to help provide essential support to patients infected with COVID-19.IVF London fully supports the NHS during this difficult time. IVF London fully supports the need to be socially responsible.

Our approach and policies are being constantly reviewed and updated with the guidance from our regulator, HFEA, professional bodies, BFS & ARCSGuidance for the care of fertility patients during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic, RCOG: Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection and pregnancy and the Government, alongside the latest evidence of the impact of COVID-19.

The team at IVF London understand that assisted conception journey can, at times, be emotional, complicated and challenging and these unprecedented times we find ourselves in, only increases all our anxiety.

Staff and patient safety is paramount.

We provide this information in an attempt to help you understand why we have taken the decisions we have and how this impacts you.

IVF London’s current position is as follows.

From 30th March we will temporarily suspend services with the exception of:

  • Skype consultations (both new and existing patients). We will be able to plan for your treatment and proceed when the clinic re-opens.
  • Open Evening’ as a virtual experience, including a general Q &A session.
  • Patients currently in treatment to complete current cycle, subject to any further update from the HFEA. As we write this, an update is expected from the HFEA who are seeking advice from the DHSC as to what treatment is allowable under the lock down conditions announced yesterday by the PM. We will contact patients affected by this, or any other change ,as soon as we are informed of their decision.

 

How has IVF London prepared to tackle the spread of COVID 19?

Whilst IVF London is open and operating, we have taken many proactive steps to tackle the spread of COVID 19 (Coronavirus)  which are listed below:

  • Adequate staffing cover for all current treatments and consultations. A full contingency plan is in place to ensure continuity of care to our patients.
  • Disinfecting all communal areas regularly including toilets, seating areas and door handles.
  • Spaced out seating for  patients to minimise contact for transmission.
  • Disinfectant Hand gel and Alcohol wipes are available in every room and all communal areas.
  • Ensuring staff wellbeing for any symptoms and enabling testing for COVID 19 for all staff.
  • All supply companies for medications, lab products and consumables have confirmed contingency and stock levels.
  • Thorough symptomatic assessment of all patients.
  • Minimising appointment overlaps between patients to reduce contact between patients.
  • Facilitating Skype Consultations.
  • Extra Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) used by staff to minimise spread.

Consultations and follow-up appointments

Appointments requiring clinic visits such as scans, consents, procedures etc will be continuing as normal until 30th March. After this date, we are encouraging patients to have telephone or Skype consultations as an alternative to face to face when and where possible.

 

What can you do to help?

Please help us to keep everyone safe by using the alcohol gel provided at the reception desk when entering and leaving the clinic.

If you develop either of the following symptoms:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough

You should stay at home for 14 days. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you are staying at home.

You should contact IVF London to inform us that you have symptoms suggestive of coronavirus, particularly if you have any routine appointments in the next 7 days.

 

What should I do if I think I may have coronavirus or been exposed?

You should use the online coronavirus service, or call NHS 111 if:

  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • your condition gets worse
  • your symptoms do not get better after 7 days

 

The NHS website is constantly being updated with advice on the coronavirus.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

 

What happens if I become ill during treatment?

If you become unwell or have to self-isolate during treatment, your cycle may be cancelled and deferred until the following month.

If your treatment must be deferred due to clinic closure, we will ensure this does not result in any additional cost to you.

If you are undergoing active infertility treatment, we suggest that you consider freezing all oocytes or embryos and avoid an embryo transfer.

 

What happens if I become pregnant or currently pregnant?

For patients currently pregnant or waiting for their results, we follow guidance from RCOG which is constantly changing:

https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/guidelines/coronavirus-pregnancy/covid-19-virus-infection-and-pregnancy/

Currently, very little is known about the impact of COVID-19 on reproduction and pregnancy. There are reports of women who have tested positive for COVID-19 delivering babies free of the disease. This data is reassuring but must be interpreted with caution given the small numbers.

Given the information we do have, while it would be wise for individuals with confirmed or presumed COVID-19 infection to avoid pregnancy, there appears to be no cause for alarm for those already pregnant.

We ask those considering fertility treatment and those currently undergoing treatment to be mindful that UK government travel advice continues to develop in response to the coronavirus – COVID 19 outbreak so please make sure you are following the most up to date advice.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-people-with-confirmed-or-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection