Our hearts go out to the many people and businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 virus. As the pandemic expands, many businesses worldwide are experiencing uncertainty. Be assured that IHR's operations remain uninterrupted. With more cases appearing globally and concern growing daily, we want to provide an update on our operations as well as share information that can help you navigate through the current uncertainty. We are monitoring the COVID-19 situation and continually adapting our comprehensive plans as needed to continue operating as usual while protecting the health and safety of our patients and our employees. We see it as our civic duty, during this difficult time, to promote health and safety among our communities we are privileged to serve.
The American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has issued an industry-wide bulletin in regards to how to manage patients who are undergoing or who are planning to undergo infertility treatment.
Below are some highlighted points from their bulletin:
- There is still very little is known about the impact of COVID-19 on reproduction and pregnancy given the small numbers of cases, however, there are reports of women who have tested positive for COVID-19 delivering babies free of the disease.
- The coronaviruses are unrelated to the ZIKA virus, which had very clear implications for pregnancy and fetal development.
- Patients who have a high likelihood of having COVID-19 (fever and/or cough, shortness of breath, and either exposure within 6 feet of a confirmed COVID-19 patient and within 14 days of onset of symptoms, or a positive COVID-19 test result) who are undergoing active infertility treatment, are suggested to consider freezing all oocytes or embryos and avoid an embryo transfer until they are disease-free.
- 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.
- The ASRM recommendation to avoid embryo transfers does not necessarily apply when there solely is a suspicion of COVID-19, because symptoms of COVID-19 are very similar to other more common forms of respiratory illnesses.
In response to the situation we continue to ask the following of our patients:
- We are asking everyone to refrain from shaking hands for now and sharing food or drinks.
- We ask that patients refrain from having a friend/partner/child accompany you to your morning monitoring appointments. We always encourage partners to join for physician consultations.
- We ask staff and patients not to come to IHR if they have any symptoms that could indicate an illness, including a fever and/or a cough.
We continue to monitor guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state and local health officials, and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), and rely on their recommendations and expertise to inform and update our decisions. We strongly recommend that you monitor your local, state, and federal government websites as well as www.cdc.gov to help keep you safe and aware of the latest information on Coronavirus.
Thank you for your confidence and trust, and know that we are working, diligently to continue providing excellent patient care.
IHR's Co-Medical Directors
Dr. David Cohen and Dr. Ilan Tur-Kaspa